Long Distance GNSS-Denied Visual Inertial Navigation for Autonomous Fixed Wing Unmanned Air Vehicles: SO(3) Manifold Filter based on Virtual Vision Sensor

by   Eduardo Gallo, et al.

This article proposes a visual inertial navigation algorithm intended to diminish the horizontal position drift experienced by autonomous fixed wing UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) in the absence of GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) signals. In addition to accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers, the proposed navigation filter relies on the accurate incremental displacement outputs generated by a VO (Visual Odometry) system, denoted here as a Virtual Vision Sensor or VVS, which relies on images of the Earth surface taken by an onboard camera and is itself assisted by the filter inertial estimations. Although not a full replacement for a GNSS receiver since its position observations are relative instead of absolute, the proposed system enables major reductions in the GNSS-Denied attitude and position estimation errors. In order to minimize the accumulation of errors in the absence of absolute observations, the filter is implemented in the manifold of rigid body rotations or SO (3). Stochastic high fidelity simulations of two representative scenarios involving the loss of GNSS signals are employed to evaluate the results. The authors release the C++ implementation of both the visual inertial navigation filter and the high fidelity simulation as open-source software.


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