Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor in High-Altitude UAV Precision Landing
Silva Cotta, Joao Leonardo
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The Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor (SVGS) is an emerging technology developed by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center that uses a vision-based approach to accurately estimate the six-state position and orientation vectors of an illuminated target of known dimensions with respect to a coordinate frame fixed to the camera. SVGS is a software-based sensor that can be deployed using a host platform’s resources (CPU and camera) for proximity operations and formation flight of drones or spacecraft. The SVGS output is calculated based on photogrammetric analysis of the light blobs in each image; its accuracy in linear and angular motion at different velocities has previously been successfully demonstrated . SVGS has several potential applications in guidance, navigation, motion control, and proximity operations as a reduced-cost, compact, reliable option to competing technologies such as LiDAR or infrared sensing. One of the applications envisioned by NASA for SVGS is planetary/lunar autonomous landing. This paper aims to compare the SVGS performance in autonomous landing with existing technologies: a combination of infrared beacon technology (IRLock) and LiDAR. The comparison is based on a precision landing experiment using ROS, ROS2, and PX4 Firmware. Results suggest that SVGS performs better than the existing IRLock with LiDAR fusion.