On an optical inertial navigation system - Part I

Ram Iyer, Jessica Meixner, Richard Buckalew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We introduce a new method for computing the linear velocity and angular velocity of an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) using only the information obtained from image sequences. We show that it is possible to build a strap-down type inertial navigation system [that we call an optical inertial navigation system (ONS)] using a simple apposition eye, that is a type of compound eye found in insects. In Part I, we use a recently proposed model for a lens and optical fiber system and show through computations that the model can predict well the angular sensitivity of a single ommatidium of a worker bee and an artificial eye. We develop the optical transfer function of the lens-fiber system for quasi-monochromatic, incoherent excitation, and study the properties of the kernel function. We study the cross-talk between neighboring fibers of the lens-fiber system for a worker bee and an artificial eye, and show that it is not significant. The above work allows us to consider in Part II, a mathematical idealization of a corneal surface as a continuum of lens-fiber systems. We show in Part II that the ego-motion estimation problem is well-posed for sufficiently rich quasi-monochromatic, incoherent excitation on an allowable, regular corneal surface, and further show that the solution does not depend on the parameterization of the surfaces or the parameters of the aircraft (such as mass and inertia matrix) on which the ONS is mounted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1850-1863
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received November 8, 2006; revised August 22, 2007. Current version published September 24, 2008. This work was supported by an NRC/ AFOSR summer faculty fellowship, an ASEE/AFOSR summer faculty fellowship, an NSF REU and DOD ASSURE Grant DMS 0552908, and an NSF REU and DOD ASSURE Grant DMS 0552908. Recommended by Associate Editor J. P. Hespanha.


  • Inertial navigation system (INS)
  • Optical inertial navigation system (ONS)
  • Unmanned vehicle (UAV)


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