Attitude determination for unmanned aerial vehicles via an antenna array

Abstract

An accurate and updated estimate of the attitude of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is crucial for their control and displacement. Errors in the attitude can cause a misuse of the limited energy sources of UAVs or accidents. For the estimation of the attitude, Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) are widely applied; they are, however, susceptible to inertial guidance error. With antenna arrays currently being incorporated to UAVs to improve their communication with ground stations, we can take advantage of such an antenna array structure in order to estimate the attitude. In this paper, we therefore propose an attitude estimation system based on an antenna array which could be used to improve the estimates of IMUs. We deliver iterative expressions to compute the attitude under usage of the estimated phase delays of the impinging signals over the antenna array. By means of simulations, we show the feasibility of our proposed solution for different SNR levels as well as for multipath scenarios.

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