Automated Vision Based Recovery of a Rotary Wing UAV onto a Moving Platform

Tom S Richardson, Chris G Jones, Alexey Likhoded, Ed Sparks, Andrew Jordan, Ian Cowling, Simon Willcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes an integrated control demonstration where a rotary wing UAV landed on a moving platform using vision based localisation of the target vehicle. Three key areas are covered in this paper, the system components and integration; control system structure and design; and finally flight test data including the first such successful landing. All the development and demonstration flights were carried out in the field and key system challenges and lessons learned are highlighted throughout the paper. Results are given for
landings carried out on both stationary and translating targets, in wind speeds of up tofifteen knots. Whilst the translating target was constrained to linear motion, there are several applications such as recovery to a land based convoy where this capability would be applicable. The results show that the approach adopted for this demonstration could form part of a practical solution to the problem of automated UAV recovery in both the civilian and military environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667–684
JournalJournal of Field Robotics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • Control
  • UAV
  • Vision Tracking


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