Tracking drone orientation with multiple GPS receivers

Mahanth Gowda, Justin Manweiler, Ashutosh Dhekne, Romit Roy Choudhury, Justin D. Weisz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Inertial sensors continuously track the 3D orientation of a flying drone, serving as the bedrock for maneuvers and stabilization. However, even the best inertial measurement units (IMU) are prone to various types of correlated failures. We consider using multiple GPS receivers on the drone as a failsafe mechanism for IMU failures. The core challenge is in accurately computing the relative locations between each receiver pair, and translating these measurements into the drone's 3D orientation. Achieving IMU-like orientation requires the relative GPS distances to be accurate to a few centimeters - a difficult task given that GPS today is only accurate to around 1-4 meters. Moreover, GPS-based orientation needs to be precise even under sharp drone maneuvers, GPS signal blockage, and sudden bouts of missing data. This paper designs SafetyNet, an off-the-shelf GPS-only system that addresses these challenges through a series of techniques, culminating in a novel particle filter framework running over multi-GNSS systems (GPS, GLONASS, and SBAS). Results from 11 sessions of 5-7 minute flights report median orientation accuracies of 2° even under overcast weather conditions. Of course, these improvements arise from an increase in cost due to the multiple GPS receivers, however, when safety is of interest, we believe that tradeoff is worthwhile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages280-293
Number of pages14
Edition1
ISBN (Print)9781450342261
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2016
Event22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2016 - New York, United States
Duration: Oct 3 2016Oct 7 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM
Number1
Volume0

Conference

Conference22nd Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2016
CountryUnited States
CityNew York
Period10/3/1610/7/16

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software

Cite this

Gowda, M., Manweiler, J., Dhekne, A., Choudhury, R. R., & Weisz, J. D. (2016). Tracking drone orientation with multiple GPS receivers. In Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM (1 ed., pp. 280-293). (Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM; Vol. 0, No. 1). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2973750.2973768