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Low-Altitude Laser Altimeter to Assist UAV Autolanding

A laser altimeter for real-time altitude and platform attitude relative to local terrain enabling auto-pilot controlled landing.

Technology Overview

This low-altitude laser altimeter provides real-time altitude and platform attitude (i.e., roll and pitch) relative to the local terrain for altitudes of about 10 meters or less and attitude angles of about 15 degrees or less. Accuracy of the measurements is sufficient to enable autopilot autolanding of UAVs on an uninstrumented, unsurveyed planar landing strip.The sensor, composed of laser illuminators, a digital imaging unit (e.g., a camera or line scan imager), and a microcomputer, derives relative altitude and attitude from angle measurements. Below about 10 meters, the sensor’s measurement accuracy is roughly proportional to the local height above terrain.

Stage of Development

Completed system-level simulation; exp. proof-of-concept in lab (1-Hz meas rate)

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