Motion estimation of a miniature helicopter using a single onboard camera

Anoop Cherian, Jon Andersh, Vassilios Morellas, Bernard Mettler, Nikos Papanikolopoulos

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

7 Scopus citations


This paper describes a technique for the estimation of the translational and rotational velocities of a miniature helicopter using the video signals from a single onboard camera. For every two consecutive frames from the camera, point correspondences are identified and Epipolar Geometry based algorithms are used to find the likely estimates of the absolute rotations and relative displacements. Images from onboard camera are often corrupted with various types of noises; SIFT descriptors were found to be the best feature descriptors to be used for point correspondences. To speed up the processing, we introduce a new representation of these descriptors based on compressive sensing formalisms. To estimate the absolute displacement of the helicopter between frames, we use the measurements from a simulated IR sensor to find the true change in altitude of the body frame, scaling other translational dimensions accordingly, and later estimating the velocities. Experiments conducted using data from a real helicopter in an indoor environment demonstrate promising results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2010 American Control Conference, ACC 2010
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781424474264
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2010 American Control Conference, ACC 2010


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