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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Search All Patents in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


Patent 10520943


Issued 2019-12-31

Unmanned Aerial Image Capture Platform

Methods and systems are disclosed for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) configured to autonomously navigate a physical environment while capturing images of the physical environment. In some embodiments, the motion of the UAV and a subject in the physical environment may be estimated based in part on images of the physical environment captured by the UAV. In response to estimating the motions, image capture by the UAV may be dynamically adjusted to satisfy a specified criterion related to a quality of the image capture.


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3 Independent Claims

  • Independent Claim 1. A method comprising: estimating a motion of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in autonomous flight through a physical environment based in part on images captured by animage capture device associated with the UAVestimating a motion of a subject in the physical environment based in part on the images captured by the image capture device associated with the UAVgenerating and continually updating a three-dimensional(3D) map of the physical environment while the UAV is in autonomous flight, the 3D map generated based in part on the images captured by the image capture device associated with the UAVdefining, within the 3D map, a virtual line between a virtualrepresentation of an estimated position of the subject and a virtual representation of an estimated position of the UAVand in response to estimating the motions of the UAV and the subject, generating control commands to dynamically adjust imagecapture of the subject by the image capture device associated with the UAV to satisfy a specified criterion related to a quality of the image capturewherein to satisfy the specified criterion the control commands to dynamically adjust image captureare configured such that, at a given time, the virtual line does not intersect a virtual representation of another physical object.

  • Independent Claim 21. A system comprising: a processing unitand a memory unit, the memory unit having instructions stored thereon, which when executed by the processing unit cause the system to: estimate a motion of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) inautonomous flight through a physical environment based in part on images captured by an image capture device associated with the UAVestimate a motion of a subject in the physical environment based in part on the images captured by the image capturedevice associated with the UAVgenerate and continually update a three-dimensional (3D) map of the physical environment while the UAV is in autonomous flight, the 3D map generated based in part on the images captured by the image capture deviceassociated with the UAVdefine, within the 3D map, a virtual line between a virtual representation of an estimated position of the subject and a virtual representation of an estimated position of the UAVand in response to estimating the motions ofthe UAV and the subject, generate control commands to dynamically adjust image capture of the subject by the image capture device associated with the UAV to satisfy a specified criterion related to a quality of the image capturewherein to satisfy thespecified criterion the control commands to dynamically adjust image capture are configured such that, at a given time, the virtual line does not intersect a virtual representation of another physical object.

  • Independent Claim 22. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) comprising: an array of image capture devices configured to capture images of a physical environment surrounding the UAV, while in flighta gimbaled image capture device configured to capture images of asubject in the physical environmenta processing unit communicatively coupled to the array of image capture devices and the gimbaled image capture deviceand a memory unit having instructions stored thereon, which when executed by the processingunit, cause the processing unit to: estimate a motion of the UAV while in autonomous flight through the physical environment based in part on the-images captured by the array of image capture devicesestimate a motion of the subject in the physicalenvironment based in part on the images captured by the array of image capture devicesgenerate and continually update a three-dimensional (3D) map of the physical environment while the UAV is in autonomous flight, the 3D map generated based in part onthe images captured by the array of image capture devicesdefine, within the 3D map, a virtual line between a virtual representation of an estimated position of the subject and a virtual representation of an estimated position of the UAVand inresponse to estimating the motions of the UAV and the subject, generate control commands to dynamically adjust image capture of the subject by the gimbaled image capture device to satisfy a specified criterion related to a quality of the image capturewherein to satisfy the specified criterion the control commands to dynamically adjust image capture are configured such that, at a given time, the virtual line does not intersect a virtual representation of another physical object.