D-Vision Systems

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Wednesday, 28 Jun 2017

UAV Landing System


UAV Vision-Based Landing System

Ironically, humans can’t land airplanes without being able to see the runway, yet we expect UAVs to do so all the time, using sensors that are not ideally suited to the task.

Ability to land UAV without human intervention by just using computerized vision technologies can sometime prevent UAV from crashing. Various aerial operations call for a remote pilot to land the UAV manually through the use of stick and throttle control inputs transmitted wirelessly. Operators are reliant on the ability to view the runway via RF broadcast video. Any loss of communication to the ground, link or video quality can have a dire effect on the successful outcome of the landing. By providing what is essentially a vision-based landing sensor, D-Vision provides a way to enable repeatable and safe landings when no remote pilot is available due to loss of control signal or no available RF link at an unplanned landing zone.

The vision-based landing system consists of D-Vision proprietary software technology, existing on-board video camera and standard CPU for image processing, integrated with on-board aviation and navigation systems. The system constantly provides with UAV’s spatial position to the autopilot by using existing, standard on-board camera only. No additional ground-based systems or specialized navigation equipment are required.
alt For extremely weight and space sensitive aerial platforms there is an option to place the computer for image processing on a Ground Control Station and connect it to the communication unit for bi directional data streaming. The captured video will be transferred to the computer by downlink for real-time calculations. Based on this data, the computer applies the technology to generate a 3D model of the landing area appearing on the transferred frames. New 3D output as well as navigation coordinates will be available 5 times per second (refresh rate of 5 Hz). This data will be used to determine the UAV’s spatial position and direction and will be fed to the UAV’s autopilot by the uplink.

More than 13 years experience was invested in developing systems that allow for the determination of position and orientation of a camera in real-time, simply by tracking features in an image sequence or scene. UAV Visual Landing System is a natural extension of that work, helping safely and reliably guiding a UAV from a low altitude to touchdown.

UAV Landing Aboard Carrier

Retrieval by netting is a common UAV aboard landing method that utilizes landing hook to catch the landing cable. They receive guidance commands from the ship that steers the aircraft towards the braking cable with a very high precision, depending on a UAV physical size. If the UAV fails to receive terminal navigation commands in real-time and misses out the cable it ends up in the water!

Another optional add-on is vision based landing aid in the terminal approach of a braking cable. The system will analyze the video and track the braking cable visually to determine the UAV’s angular position and range to the cable. The UAV’s position will be updated in real time relatively to the braking cable in all 6 degrees of freedom, and will be fed to the UAV’s autopilot.

These solutions provide augmentation to existing systems, ensuring the aircraft always gets back down in the event of the feared loss of control link.