Vision based navigation and tracking with small UAVs

This talk will describe our current work on vision based autonomous navigation and tracking using small UAVs. We will overview two on-going projects. The first is relative navigation in GPS degraded environments. There are many applications where GPS is either restricted or denied. We have developed an architecture that uses a relative front end to navigate relative to key frames, and then opportunistically uses GPS measurements and SLAM-style loop closures in a back end process to provide global context. We will show some recent flight results that demonstrate robustness to GPS failure and degradation. The second project that we will discuss is robust tracking of multiple ground based targets from an airborne platform. We will present a new multiple target tracking algorithm that is based on the random sample consensus (RANSAC) algorithm that is widely used in computer vision. A recursive version of the RANSAC algorithm will be discussed, and its extension to tracking multiple dynamic objects will be explained. The performance of R-RANSAC will be compared to state of the art target tracking algorithms in the context of problems that are relevant to UAV applications.


  Prof. Randy Beard
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Brigham Young University

Prof. Randal W. Beard received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in 1991, the M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1993, the M.S. degree in mathematics in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1995, all from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. Since 1996, he has been with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, where he is currently a professor. In 1997 and 1998, he was a Summer Faculty Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. In 2006-2007 he was a research associate at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin AFB, FL.
His primary research focus is autonomous control of micro unmanned air vehicles and multiple vehicle coordination and control. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, an Associate Fellow of AIAA, a past Associate Editor for the IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, and IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control. In 1998 and 2004 he was voted the outstanding teacher in the BYU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department by graduating seniors, and in 2002 he received the Outstanding Professor award from the BYU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. In 2004 he received the Young Scholar award,  in 2006 he received the Technology Transfer award, in 2009 he received the Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts award,  in 2012 he received the Cozzins Teaching and Learning Fellowship, and in 2017 he received the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecture Award, all from Brigham Young University.