UAV Navigation launches its new visual navigation system

UAV Navigation launches its new Visual Navigation System (VNS). The company says this new capability is sure to cause a stir among manufacturers and end users of NATO Category I and II UAS. The compact and lightweight device, which is supplied as an optional peripheral to the primary Flight Control System (FCS), enables the safe and efficient navigation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in environments without GNSS. The VNS combines “visual odometry” and “pattern identification” techniques with the rest of the sensors on board the aircraft to ensure that the absolute position, orientation and relative movement of the aircraft over above ground are calculated with astonishing accuracy.

Planning and executing UAV missions in environments where the GNSS signal is either unavailable or unreliable is becoming increasingly critical. For some missions, the data link to the ground control station (GCS) may be subject to interference, or the operation dictates that the flight must be flown without a data link from the outset. Under these circumstances, UAS traditionally rely on an inertial navigation system (INS) to complete the mission. However, all of these inertial systems accumulate navigational drift due to sensor noise, propagation patterns, and the difficulty of characterizing external forces. This position error limits any such UAS operation, as an accurate position cannot be guaranteed.

The new VNS, together with the VECTOR family of flight control systems, effectively addresses this problem by using data that is independent of the GNSS constellation and more accurate than INS. The system identifies patterns in the terrain below to help cancel out any accumulated error, allowing the UAS to operate for long periods without losing position accuracy. In addition, thanks to its reduced size and weight, it can be installed in category I and II UAS, allowing them to take advantage of this navigation technique without penalizing autonomy or payload capacity.

The new VNS, which has been entirely developed by the Spanish company UAV Navigation, which is part of the Oesía Group, has produced exceptional results during flight tests, both on fixed-wing platforms, generally with speeds higher and a higher service ceiling, as well as on rotary-wing platforms. , where high vibration and hovering maneuvers are usually a problem. The new VNS has proven its ability to provide accurate navigation information for flights where there may be intermittent loss of GNSS signal and also when a flight must be executed from the start without GNSS data.

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