Theory of Optical IMU Aiding; Loose, Tight, Ultra-Tight Optical Flow Coupling to Inertial Navigation Systems

Period of Performance: 09/01/2006 - 05/01/2007


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

SET Assoc. Corp.
1005 N. Glebe Rd.Suite 400
Arlington, VA 22201
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Air Force Institute of Technology
2950 Hobson Way
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433
Institution POC


Modern UAV systems depend critically on GPS/INS systems to provide precise navigation data for controlling flight. When GPS is denied, the drift associated with INS measurements quickly increase measurement errors beyond the point where they are no longer useful for navigation and flight control. SET Corporation, in conjunction with GPS and navigation experts at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), propose to develop a navigation system involving tightly coupled optical and IMU sensors to enable precise UAV navigation in GPS-denied environments. The SET/AFIT team provides a unique capability to seamlessly integrate computer vision and navigation technologies to provide a unified ultra-tightly coupled system for optical IMU aiding. The design focuses on the underlying mathematical modeling to tightly couple video measurements to INS navigation parameters, automatically extract feature depth within this tight coupling, and automate the addition and dropping of features necessary to perform long term video/IMU navigation without reliance on external sources. SET will seek to productize the technology and make it available for use on US Air Force and other aircraft to enable precision navigation without GPS.