During flight, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) need several sensors to follow a predefined path and reach a specific destination. To this aim, they generally exploit an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for pose estimation. Usually, in the UAV context, an IMU entails a three-axis accelerometer and a three-axis gyroscope. However, as happens for many physical devices, they can present some misalignment between the real value and the registered one. These systematic or occasional errors can derive from different sources and could be related to the sensor itself or to external noise due to the place where it is located. Hardware calibration requires special equipment, which is not always available. In any case, even if possible, it can be used to solve the physical problem and sometimes requires removing the sensor from its location, which is not always feasible. At the same time, solving the problem of external noise usually requires software procedures. Moreover, as reported in the literature, even two IMUs from the same brand and the same production chain could produce different measurements under identical conditions. This paper proposes a soft calibration procedure to reduce the misalignment created by systematic errors and noise based on the grayscale or RGB camera built-in on the drone. Based on the transformer neural network architecture trained in a supervised learning fashion on pairs of short videos shot by the UAV's camera and the correspondent UAV measurements, the strategy does not require any special equipment. It is easily reproducible and could be used to increase the trajectory accuracy of the UAV during the flight.

A Novel Transformer-Based IMU Self-Calibration Approach through On-Board RGB Camera for UAV Flight Stabilization

Francesco Scarcello
2023-01-01

Abstract

During flight, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) need several sensors to follow a predefined path and reach a specific destination. To this aim, they generally exploit an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for pose estimation. Usually, in the UAV context, an IMU entails a three-axis accelerometer and a three-axis gyroscope. However, as happens for many physical devices, they can present some misalignment between the real value and the registered one. These systematic or occasional errors can derive from different sources and could be related to the sensor itself or to external noise due to the place where it is located. Hardware calibration requires special equipment, which is not always available. In any case, even if possible, it can be used to solve the physical problem and sometimes requires removing the sensor from its location, which is not always feasible. At the same time, solving the problem of external noise usually requires software procedures. Moreover, as reported in the literature, even two IMUs from the same brand and the same production chain could produce different measurements under identical conditions. This paper proposes a soft calibration procedure to reduce the misalignment created by systematic errors and noise based on the grayscale or RGB camera built-in on the drone. Based on the transformer neural network architecture trained in a supervised learning fashion on pairs of short videos shot by the UAV's camera and the correspondent UAV measurements, the strategy does not require any special equipment. It is easily reproducible and could be used to increase the trajectory accuracy of the UAV during the flight.
2023
IMU
IMU calibration
UAV
computer vision
deep learning
transformer
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/361101
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