Fusion of Data and Knowledge for Safe UAV Landing

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    Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have the potential to significantly improve current working practices for a variety of applications including aerial surveillance and search-and-rescue. However before UAVs can be widely integrated into civilian airspace there are a number of technical challenges which must be overcome including provision of an autonomous method of landing which would be executed in the event of an emergency. A fundamental component of autonomous landing is safe landing zone detection of which terrain classification is a major constituent. Presented in this paper is an extension of the Multi-Modal Expectation Maximization algorithm which combines data in the form of multiple images of the same scene, with knowledge in the form of historic training data and Ordnance Survey map information to compute updated class parameters. These updated parameters are subsequently used to classify the terrain of an area based on the pixel data contained within the images. An image's contribution to the classification of an area is then apportioned according to its coverage of that area. Preliminary results are presented based on aerial imagery of the Antrim Plateau region in Northern Ireland which indicates potential in the approach used.

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Sally McClean, Bryan Scotney, Timothy Patterson, Philip Morrow, Gerard Parr. Fusion of Data and Knowledge for Safe UAV Landing. International Journal of Software and Informatics, 2012,6(3):381~398

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