UAV, Kalman Filter, GPS, RTK, Landing


This paper presents a highly effective method for UAV precision shipboard localization and landing using Real-time Kinematic Global Navigation Satellite System (RTK GNSS). To assess the feasibility of RTK GNSS for this use case we explicitly exclude vision-based localization techniques which are most often presented in the literature. Instead, the methods presented in this paper use only RTK GNSS with an inertial measurement unit aboard the landing pad to estimate the state of the boat and the relative position of the UAV with respect to the boat. We use a continuous-discrete extended Kalman filter combined with a complementary filter for state estimation. A custom state machine is then implemented that ensures vehicle descent inside of a conical corridor above the landing pad before finally touching down at a precise location on the landing target. We evaluate our proposed methods in a real-world hardware application that includes a landing target with boat-like motion. Consistent landing accuracy below 10 cm is achieved with the proposed methods.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date





Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Graduate Student