Friday, 8 January 2010

Study on SAR Motion Sensing and Compensation Using Low-cost Radio-controlled Plane Modified with Autopilot

A presentation for Multimedia University Engineering Research Colloquium 2010 (MERC 2010), 11 January 2010, Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Author: Yap Wen Jiun

Abstract: The main condition of a successful Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data collection is the steady straight and level flight of the airborne platform. The deviations of the aircraft from the intended flight path will introduce various forms of phase errors which lead to degradation of the resolution and the contrast of the generated SAR images. One of the approaches to reduce this effect is to measure the motion error with sensors such as inertial measurement units (IMU) and global positioning system (GPS), then correct the phase errors with the appropriate phase multiplications. The motion sensing of the airborne platform, the data fusion of various motion sensors with Kalman Filtering and the selection of the appropriate phase corrections are the key aspects of the motion compensation system but the experimentations of these processes involve real flight data. To lower the cost and complexity of such flight experiments, a low cost radio-controlled plane will be modified with autopilot system to act as the remote sensing airborne platform. Different autopilot systems such as AttoPilot, Paparazzi, ArduPilot and UAV DevBoard will be studied and compared in terms of technologies used such as thermopile and IMU. One or multiple autopilot systems will be selected to be installed in a chosen radio-controlled plane that has sufficient cabin space and carrying capability. The motion sensing system and the determination of the appropriate phase corrections will be tested and verified with the flight tests of the modified radio-controlled plane at the maximum allowable altitude and range to replicate as close as possible a real SAR flight.

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