Autonomous visual tracking of stationary targets using small unmanned aerial vehicles
Prince, Robert A.
Kaminer, Isaac I.
Whang, Ick Ho.
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A control system was developed for autonomous visual tracking of a stationary target using a small unmanned aerial vehicle. The kinematic equations of this problem were developed, and the insight obtained from examination was applied in developing controllers for the system. This control system controlled the orientation of the camera to keep it constantly pointing at the target, and also controlled the trajectory of the aircraft in flight around the target. The initial control law that was developed drives the aircraft trajectory to a constant radius around the target. The range to the target is not directly measurable, so it was estimated using steady state Kalman filters. Once a range estimate is obtained, it is used to control the range to the target, and the aircraft trajectory is driven toward a circle with a specified radius. Initial tests of the control system with Simulink simulations have shown good performance of the control system. Further testing with hardware will be conducted, and flight tests are scheduled to be conducted in the near future. Conclusions are drawn and recommendations for further study are presented.
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