GPS-optimal micro air vehicle navigation in degraded environments

We investigate a computationally and memory efficient algorithm for radio frequency (RF) source-seeking with a single-wing rotating micro air vehicle (MAV) operating in an urban canyon environment. We present an algorithm that overcomes two significant difficulties of operating in an urban canyon environment. First, Global Positioning System (GPS) localization quality can be degraded due to the lack of clear line of sight to a sufficient number of GPS satellites. Second, the spatial RF field is complex due to multipath reflections leading to multiple maxima and minima in received signal strength (RSS). High quality GPS localization is maintained by observing the GPS signal to noise ratio (SNR) to each satellite and making inferences about directions of high GPS visibility (allowable) and directions of low GPS visibility (forbidden). To avoid local maxima in RSS due to multipath reflections we exploit the rotation of the MAV and the directionality of its RF antenna to derive estimates of the angle of arrival (AOA) at each rotation. Under mild assumptions on the noise associated with the AOA measurements, a greedy algorithm is shown to exhibit a global recurrence property. Simulations supplied with actualGPS SNR measurements indicate that this algorithm reliably finds the RF source while maintaining an acceptable level of GPS visibility. Additionally, outdoor experiments using Lockheed Martin's Samarai MAV demonstrate the efficacy of this approach for static source-seeking in an urban canyon environment.

J. T. Isaacs, C. Magee, A. Subbaraman, K. Fregene, A. R. Teel, U. Madhow, and J. P. Hespanha
Proceedings of the 2014 American Control Conference
Pages: 1864 - 1871
Date: June, 2014
ICB Affiliated Authors: João P Hespanha, Upamanyu Madhow