Cooperative UWB-Based Localization for Outdoors Positioning and Navigation of UAVs aided by Ground Robots

Yu Xianjia, Li Qingqing, Jorge Pena Queralta, Jukka Heikkonen, Tomi Westerlund

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming largely ubiquitous with an increasing demand for aerial data. Accurate navigation and localization, required for precise data collection in many industrial applications, often relies on RTK GNSS. These systems, able of centimeter-level accuracy, require a setup and calibration process and are relatively expensive. This paper addresses the problem of accurate positioning and navigation of UAVs through cooperative localization. Inexpensive ultra-wideband (UWB) transceivers installed on both the UAV and a support ground robot enable centimeter-level relative positioning. With fast deployment and wide setup flexibility, the proposed system is able to accommodate different environments and can also be utilized in GNSS-denied environments. Through extensive simulations and test fields, we evaluate the accuracy of the system and compare it to GNSS in urban environments where multipath transmission degrades accuracy. For completeness, we include visual-inertial odometry in the experiments and compare the performance with the UWB-based cooperative localization.

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