Applicability of New Approaches of Sensor Orientation to Micro Aerial Vehicles
This study highlights the benefits of precise aerial position and attitude control in the context of mapping with Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs). Accurate mapping with MAVs is gaining importance in applications such as corridor mapping, road and pipeline inspections or mapping of large areas with homogeneous surface structure, e.g. forests or agricultural fields. There, accurate aerial control plays a major role in successful terrain reconstruction and artifact-free ortophoto generation. The presented experiments focus on new approaches of aerial control. We confirm practically that the relative aerial position and attitude control can improve accuracy in difficult mapping scenarios. Indeed, the relative orientation method represents an attractive alternative in the context of MAVs for two reasons. First, the procedure is somewhat simplified, e.g. the angular misalignment, so called boresight, between the camera and the inertial measurement unit (IMU) does not have to be determined and, second, the effect of possible systematic errors in satellite positioning (e.g. due to multipath and/or incorrect recovery of differential carrier-phase ambiguities) is mitigated. First, we present a typical mapping project over an agricultural field and second, we perform a corridor road mapping. We evaluate the proposed methods in scenarios with and without automated image observations. We investigate a recently proposed concept where adjustment is performed using image observations limited to ground control and check points, so called fast aerial triangulation (Fast AT). In this context we show that accurate aerial control (absolute or relative) together with a few image observations can deliver accurate results comparable to classical aerial triangulation with thousands of image measurements. This procedure in turns reduces the demands on processing time and the requirements on the existence of surface texture. Finally, we compare the above mentioned procedures with direct sensor orientation (DiSO) to show its potential for rapid mapping.