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research-article

Nonlinear Vision-based Observer for Visual Servo Control of an Aerial Robot in GPS-denied Environments

[+] Author and Article Information
Dejun Guo

Design, Automation, Robotics and Control (DARC) Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
dejun.guo@utah.edu

Hesheng Wang

Key Laboratory of System Control and Information Processing, Department of Automation, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
wanghesheng@sjtu.edu.cn

Kam K. Leang

Design, Automation, Robotics and Control (DARC) Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
kam.k.leang@utah.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041431 History: Received May 07, 2018; Revised August 30, 2018

Abstract

This paper presents a new nonlinear vision-based observer for estimating 3D translational position and velocity for closed-loop, position-based, visual-servo control of a quadrotor aerial robot in a GPS-denied environment. The method enables motion control in areas where GPS signals are weak or absent, for example inside of a building. In this case, the robot self-localizes for feedback control by using a low-cost on-board camera to observe at least two feature points fixed in the world frame, without constraints on the altitude. The nonlinear observer described herein takes advantage of the geometry of the perspective projection and is designed to update the translational position and velocity in real-time by exploiting visual information and data from an inertial measurement unit (IMU). Additionally, the method does not require constraints or assumptions on the altitude and initial estimation errors. Two new controller designs based on the backstepping technique that take advantage of the estimator's output are described and implemented for trajectory tracking of the underactuated aerial robot. The Lyapunov method is used to show the asymptotic stability of the closed-loop system. Simulation and experimental results are presented to demonstrate feasibility and validate the performance of the observer and control systems for hovering and tracking a circular trajectory defined in the world frame in an indoor environment where GPS localization is not available.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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