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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Search All Applications in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


Application 20190248487


Published 2019-08-15

Aerial Vehicle Smart Landing

A technique is introduced for autonomous landing by an aerial vehicle. In some embodiments, the introduced technique includes processing a sensor data such as images captured by onboard cameras to generate a ground map comprising multiple cells. A suitable footprint, comprising a subset of the multiple cells in the ground map that satisfy one or more landing criteria, is selected and control commands are generated to cause the aerial vehicle to autonomously land on an area corresponding to the footprint. In some embodiments, the introduced technique involves a geometric smart landing process to select a relatively flat area on the ground for landing. In some embodiments, the introduced technique involves a semantic smart landing process where semantic information regarding detected objects is incorporated into the ground map.


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4 Independent Claims

  • Independent Claim 1. A method for autonomous landing by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the method comprising: receiving, by a computer system, sensor data from a sensor onboard the UAV while the UAV is in flight through a physical environmentprocessing, by the computer system, the sensor data to determine a plurality of data points representative of height values at a plurality of points along a surface in the physical environmentgenerating and continually updating, by the computer system, a ground map of a portion of the surface based on the determined height values, wherein the ground map comprises a grid of a plurality of cells, wherein each cell includes continually updated height statistics based on the determined data points associated with the cellidentifying, by the computer system, a footprint based on the ground map, the footprint including a subset of the plurality of cells that include height statistics that satisfy a specified criteriondesignating, by the computer system, a landing area on the surface in the physical environment based on the identified footprintand generating, by the computer system, control commands configured to cause the UAV to autonomously maneuver to land on the designated landing area.

  • Independent Claim 15. A method for autonomously landing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the UAV configured to autonomously track a subject in a physical environmentmonitoring, by a computer system, an operational status of the UAV while the UAV is in flight through the physical environmentdetermining, by the computer system, that the operational status of the UAV does not satisfy an operational criterion based on the monitoringin response to determining that the operational status does not satisfy the operational criterion, automatically: causing, by the computer system, the UAV to stop tracking the subject in the physical environmentand causing, by the computer system, the UAV to perform an autonomous landing process by: processing a ground map to identify a landing footprint, the ground map generated and continually updated based on images of the physical environment captured by an image capture device coupled to the UAV, the ground map including a plurality of cells, each of the plurality of cells including continually updated characteristic data based on the captured images, the landing footprint including a subset of the plurality of cells in the ground map that include characteristic data that satisfy a specified landing criteriondesignating a landing area on a surface in the physical environment based on the identified landing footprintand generating, by the computer system, control commands configured to cause the UAV to autonomously maneuver to land on the designated landing area.

  • Independent Claim 27. An unmanned aerial vehicle aerial vehicle (UAV) configured for autonomous flight through a physical environment, the UAV including: an image capture device configured to capture images of the physical environmentand a landing system configured to: in response to an instruction to land: process images captured by the image capture device to generate and continually update a ground map of a portion of a surface in the physical environment, the ground map including a plurality of cells, each of the plurality of cells including continually updated characteristic data based on the captured imagesidentify a landing footprint based on the ground map, the landing footprint including a subset of the plurality of cells in the ground map that include characteristic data that satisfy a specified landing criteriondesignate a landing area on a surface in the physical environment based on the identified landing footprintgenerate a landing objective based on the designated landing areaand communicate the landing objective to a motion planner to facilitate generation of a planned trajectory to land the UAV on the designated landing area.

  • Independent Claim 40. A manned aircraft comprising: one or more control actuatorsa manual control system for receiving input from a pilot of the manned aircraft and adjusting the one or more control actuators to maneuver the manned aircraft based on the input from the pilotan image capture device configured to capture images of a physical environment surrounding the manned aircraftand an automated landing system configured to: in response to an instruction to land: process images captured by the image capture device to generate and continually update a ground map of a portion of a surface in the physical environment, the ground map including a plurality of cells, each of the plurality of cells including continually updated characteristic data based on the captured imagesidentify a landing footprint based on the ground map, the landing footprint including a subset of the plurality of cells in the ground map that include characteristic data that satisfy a specified landing criteriondesignate a landing area on a surface in the physical environment based on the identified landing footprintand adjust automatically the one or more control actuators to cause the manned aircraft to autonomously land on the designated landing area.