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A Multi-resolution Image Alignment Technique Based on Direct Methods for Pose Estimation of Aerial Vehicles

Congresses name: 

International Conference on Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications


Noosa, Queensland Australia

2011, December, 6-8

Abstract- In this paper, we seek to expand the use of direct methods in real-time applications by proposing a vision-based strategy for pose estimation of aerial vehicles. The vast majority of approaches make use of features to estimate motion. Conversely, the strategy we propose is based on a MR (Multi-Resolution) implementation of an image registration technique (Inverse Compositional Image Alignment ICIA) using direct methods. An on-board camera in a downwards-looking configuration, and the assumption of planar scenes, are the bases of the algorithm. The motion between frames (rotation and translation) is recovered by decomposing the frame-to-frame homography obtained by the ICIA algorithm applied to a patch that covers around the 80% of the image. When the visual estimation is required (e.g. GPS drop-out), this motion is integrated with the previous known estimation of the vehicles' state, obtained from the on-board sensors (GPS/IMU), and the subsequent estimations are based only on the vision-based motion estimations. The proposed strategy is tested with real flight data in representative stages of a flight: cruise, landing, and take-off, being two of those stages considered critical: take-off and landing. The performance of the pose estimation strategy is analyzed by comparing it with the GPS/IMU estimations. Results show correlation between the visual estimation obtained with the MR-ICIA and the GPS/IMU data, that demonstrate that the visual estimation can be used to provide a good approximation of the vehicle's state when it is required (e.g. GPS drop-outs). In terms of performance, the proposed strategy is able to maintain an estimation of the vehicle's state for more than one minute, at real-time frame rates based, only on visual information.

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