Indoor Navigation for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Sobers, D. Michael Jr.
Johnson, Eric N.
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The ability for vehicles to navigate unknown environments is critical for autonomous operation. Mapping of a vehicle's environment and self-localization within that environ- ment are especially difficult for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) due to the complexity of UAV attitude and motion dynamics, as well as interference from external influences such as wind. By using a stable vehicle platform and taking advantage of the geometric structure typical of most indoor environments, the complexity of the localization and mapping problem can be reduced. Interior wall and obstacle location can be measured using low-cost range sensors. Relative vehicle location within the mapped environment can then be determined. By alternating between mapping and localization, a vehicle can explore its environment autonomously. This paper examines available low-cost range sensors for suitability in solving the mapping and localization problem. A control system and navigation algorithm are developed to perform mapping of indoor environments and localization. Simulation and experimental results are provided to determine feasibility of the proposed approach to indoor navigation.