MAPPING GNSS RESTRICTED ENVIRONMENTS WITH A DRONE TANDEM AND INDIRECT POSITION CONTROL
Keywords: Cooperative mapping, Photogrammetry, UAV, Cluttered environment, GNSS-denied environment
Abstract. The problem of autonomously mapping highly cluttered environments, such as urban and natural canyons, is intractable with the current UAV technology. The reason lies in the absence or unreliability of GNSS signals due to partial sky occlusion or multi-path effects. High quality carrier-phase observations are also required in efficient mapping paradigms, such as Assisted Aerial Triangulation, to achieve high ground accuracy without the need of dense networks of ground control points. In this work we consider a drone tandem in which the first drone flies outside the canyon, where GNSS constellation is ideal, visually tracks the second drone and provides an indirect position control for it. This enables both autonomous guidance and accurate mapping of GNSS restricted environments without the need of ground control points. We address the technical feasibility of this concept considering preliminary real-world experiments in comparable conditions and we perform a mapping accuracy prediction based on a simulation scenario.