Autonomous Remote Controlled Helicopter
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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have a tremendous appeal. One can imagine a large number of applications such as search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring, aerial mapping, etc. Helicopters are particularly attractive due to their Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) capabilities. The research on UAVs has shown rapid development in recent years, and offers a great number of challenges. This thesis is the result of a project which is a part of the Autonomous Remote Controlled Helicopter (ARCH) project at the Department of Computer and Information Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The ARCH project has already gained public interest, when it was featured on a television program (Schrödingers katt, NRK. September 2004). The object of this thesis is divided into three main sections. Firstly, it is to create and describe a remote control system for controlling the UAV in semi-autonomous mode, that will also enable the UAV to autonomously follow objects (pursuit-mode). Secondly, it is to create and describe a virtual cockpit which is to be used with the remote control system. Finally, it is to create and describe an image stabilization system, which can stabilize the visual information sent from the UAV to the ground and the virtual cockpit. These three components have been combined and integrated into the client prototype called ARCH Groundstation. Together, these three components provides a platform for an operator to control the ARCH UAV in semi-autonomous mode.