With the increased performance and reduced cost of cameras, the robotics community has taken great interest in estimation and control algorithms that fuse camera data with other sensor data.In response to this interest, this dissertation investigates the algorithms needed for robust guidance, navigation, and control of fixed-wing and multirotor aircraft applied to target estimation and circumnavigation.This work begins with the development of a method to estimate target position relative to static landmarks, deriving and using a state-of-the-art EKF that estimates static landmarks in its state.Following this estimator, improvements are made to a nonlinear observer solving part of the SLAM problem.These improvements include a moving origin process to keep the coordinate origin within the camera field of view and a sliding window iteration algorithm to drastically improve convergence speed of the observer.Next, observers to directly estimate relative target position are created with a circumnavigation guidance law for a multirotor aircraft.Taking a look at fixed-wing aircraft, a state-dependent LQR controller with inputs based on vector fields is developed, in addition to an EKF derived from error state and Lie group theory to estimate aircraft state and inertial wind velocity.The robustness of this controller/estimator combination is demonstrated through Monte Carlo simulations.Next, the accuracy, robustness, and consistency of a state-of-the-art EKF are improved for multirotors by augmenting the filter with a drag coefficient, partial updates, and keyframe resets.Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate the improved accuracy and consistency of the augmented filter.Lastly, a visual-inertial EKF using image coordinates is derived, as well as an offline calibration tool to estimate the transforms needed for accurate, visual-inertial estimation algorithms.The imaged-based EKF and calibrator are also shown to be robust under various conditions through numerical simulation.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





nonlinear systems, nonlinear observer, nonlinear controller, observability, graph optimization, state estimation, Kalman filter, LQR control, vector fields, target tracking, optical flow, fixed-wing control, multirotor control



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Engineering Commons