A Micro Aerial Vehicle with Precise Position and Attitude Sensors
This study shows the potential of navigation technologies in the field of position and orientation determination on a micro aerial vehicle (MAV), which weight does not exceed 5 kg. Although the MAV systems feature high flexibility and capability of flying into areas that are inhospitable or inaccessible to humans, the lack of precision in positioning and attitude estimation on-board decreases the gained value of the captured imagery. This limits their mode of operation to indirect georeferencing. This paper pre-sents the development of a low cost MAV with navigation-sensor payload that shall assure a position and attitude control with accuracy from which either direct or integrated sensor orientation can benefit. After describing the hardware configuration and the synchronization of all measurements we present a case study that evaluates the performance of the positioning component and its application on integrated sensor orientation without ground control. There we show that thanks to the implementation of a multi-frequency, low power GNSS receiver, the system can potentially attain the mapping characteristics of much larger platforms flown on man-operated carriers while keeping the sensor size and weight suitable for MAV operations. The attitude accuracy of the developed board hosting several MEMS-IMUs is evaluated dynamically on a terrestrial vehicle using a reference (navigation grade) INS. Although this method offers continuous evaluation of the orientation accuracy and the obtained results are satisfactory with respect to the foreseen operations, this performance remains to be confirmed in a flight.