There are a number of ongoing projects developing autonomous vehicles, both helicopters and airplanes. The purpose of this project is to study a concept for calculating the height and attitude of a helicopter. The system will be active during landing. This project includes building an experimental setup and to develop algorithms and software.
The basic idea is to illuminate the ground with a certain pattern and in our case we used laser pointers to create this pattern. The ground is then filmed and the images are processed to extract the pattern. This provides us with information about the height and attitude of the helicopter. Furthermore, the concept implies that no equipment on the ground is needed. With further development the sensor should be able to calculate the movement of the underlying surface relative to the helicopter. This is very important when landing on a moving surface, e.g. a ship at sea.
To study the concept empirically an experimental setup was constructed. The setup provides us with the necessary information to evaluate how well the system could perform in reality. The setup is built with simple and cheap materials. In the setup an ordinary web camera and laser pointers that are avaliable for everyone have been used.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Östman, Christian | Forsberg, Anna