Study of The Utilization of Visual Stereo Information for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Control in Indoor Application
The application of umanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in indoor environtment is relatively new in aerospace technology field. Application of UAV in such environtment requires different approach especially in aspects related to the control and handling capabilities. Normally, operating a flight vehicle in a contained environtment needs more accurate and precise control and handling, since obviously the movement space is limited. More complication comes from the fact that contained airspace may give aerodynamic effect that is different to that found in a free space environtment. This aerodynamic effect difference may contributes to specific dynamics behaviour of the UAV, which consequently requires quite different approach to be handled.
In this research, an aspect related to the control of UAV using visual information is explored. A study on the utilization of stereography as a way to extract information about the surrounding environment in a contained space, in a control loop context, is conducted. In this case, the pilot (human or computer) is supposed to control a UAV in a closed loop manner, where the visual information is treated as the feedback, so that the pilot can recognize important objects in the environtment and perform maneuvers accordingly.
The objective of this research is to elaborate the benefit that can be gained from utilization of visual-stereo information for controlling UAV in an indoor environtment, compared to that obtained from the utilization of other type of informations, such as visual-mono information, or range sensor.
The main aspect of this research is conducted through experimental work, by using a simulator for observing the effects of visual-stereo information has on the ability to recognize the environment and to control the vehicle.
In this study, a human pilot is given task to control a UAV and perform a mission in an indoor environtment, where no prior knowledge about the environment is provided. Two different types of visual information are provided for the pilot as feedback, namely visual mono and visual stereo informations, where visual information from two different point of views are simultaneously sent to the pilot. Then observations are taken on the performance of the pilot in flying the UAV and accomplishing the mission. Evaluation will be carried out based on some criterias, such as time to accomplish the mission, number of recognized objects, and number of any incidence happened (when the space limitation is violated).
For conducting this experimental test, a set of equipments needs to be arranged and set-up. The equipment, or can be called the simulator, for this research consists of a computer generated visual images, mono and stereo, representing particular scenarios of UAV flight missions. The following phases are designed for this research:
- Study on the flight dynamics aspects of a particular type of UAV
- Development of a visual simulator capable of producing mono and stereo visual
information of indoor environtment (contained space)
- Arrangement of test scenarios
- Test and evaluation
From the first year of this research, the following results have been reached:
• The initial configuration of the visual simulator system (hardware and software)
• Procedure and scenarios for the experimental test
• Analysis of the UAV flight dynamics to be used as reference for further study
• Analysis of the algorithm for utilizing the visual information in vehicle control application
• Preliminary test results
4. Discussion and Conclusions
The visual simulator has been developed using a computer PC equipped with a monitor of 3D capability (high resolution, with stereo intermittent display) and a 3D eyeglasses. This set of equipment is arranged such that visual stereo image can be generated and displayed smoothly. Then a set of scenarios, in the forms of software generating the visual information of indoor environtment has also been developed.
These software and hardware configuration has been used for conducting several test, where an observer is given task for following particular movement of the camera on indoor environtment. In the initial test, observer only needs to sense the space in terms of the wide and depth, and recognize some objects. No ability to exert a control command to the vehicle is provided in this stage.
From the initial test, it can be seen that the visual simulator, and also the scenario can be used for qualitatively evaluating the effect of different visual information (mono and stereo) has on the level of object recognition and space ‘understanding’ of the observers. The stereo information, as already expected, in some situation where objects that can be used as wide-depth references are rarely present, can provide intuitively correct and more precise information about the shape and distance in contained spaces.
In further phase of this research, the effect of different information has on the observer/pilot performance in controlling the movement of the vehicle (camera) will be extensively evaluated and analyzed.
6. LIST OF RESEARCH OUTPUT
• The Study on Visual-Stereo Information Utilization for UAV control in Indoor Application, paper to be published at Regional Conference on Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (RCMEAE), Philippines, March 4-5, 2011
• A Visual Simulator System
Figure 2. The visual simulator
HEAD OF RESEARCH TEAM: Rianto Adhy Sasongko, S.T., M.Sc., Ph.D.
TEAM MEMBERS: Dr. Taufiq Mulyanto, Mohammad Philby, Ardanto Mohammad P., Omar Arif Maulana
OFFICIAL ADDRESS: Kelompok Keahlian Fisika Terbang, Gedung Labtek II Lantai IV, Fakultas Teknik Mesin dan Dirgantara, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Jalan Ganesa 10 Bandung 40132