LiveMaps: Air

Infrastructure Free Alternative To Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)

Overview

Currently UAS rely heavily on GPS, which can be unreliable in various settings including ‘urban canyons’. Live Maps: Air provides an infrastructure free alternative to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as GPS.

Approach

LiveMaps: Air builds on our existing GPS-denied visual navigation system, which integrates passive sensors with camera data in real-time to make a robust and accurate determination of location relative to a given take-off location.

The technology takes the flexible ‘tile’ maps from this navigation system and aligns them with a map from another source to locate a UAS in real-time in global coordinates using only on-board passive sensors. This continuous reference back to the map corrects any accumulated errors and removes the need for loop closure, which is the usual approach in vision based slam systems.

Features

  • Real time UAS lat lon independent of GPS.
  • Can continue after GPS loss, or determine location in world without GPS.
  • Automatic camera based global localisation, exploiting aerial image reference maps.
  • No manual initialisation required.
  • Easily incorporated into existing UAS.
  • Works in EO and IR.
  • Integrated with existing hardware or be developed as a dedicated module.

Benefits

  • Enables GPS-denied operation of UAS.
  • Requires no additional infrastructure.
  • Low sensor and computing requirements.
  • Maintains stable flight, way point following and station keeping independent of GPS.
  • Adaptable to work with many mobile platforms in a GPS denied environment.

Applications

  • Extending the operational capability of military UAS. 
  • Providing safer operation in built-up areas for consumer drones. 
  • Enables future systems to remove the reliance on GPS for all systems in civil airspace.