Purpose – This paper aims to address three major issues in the development of a vision‐based navigation system for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which can be characterized as follows: technical constraints, robust image feature matching and an efficient and precise method for visual navigation. Design/methodology/approach – The authors present and evaluate methods for their solution such as wireless networked control, highly distinctive feature descriptors (HDF) and a visual odometry system. Findings – Proposed feature descriptors achieve significant improvements in computation time by detaching the explicit scale invariance of the widely used scale invariant feature transform. The feasibility of wireless networked real‐time control for vision‐based navigation is evaluated in terms of latency and data throughput. The visual odometry system uses a single camera to reconstruct the camera path and the structure of the environment, and achieved and error of 1.65 percent w.r.t total path length on a circular trajectory of 9.43 m. Originality/value – The originality/value lies in the contribution of the presented work to the solution of visual odometry for small unmanned aerial vehicles.
Sensor Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 14, 2013
Keywords: Machine vision, Intelligent sensors, Sensor review; Visual odometry; Autonomous navigation; Unmanned aerial vehicle; Networked control system; Sensors; Navigation
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