AUTOKITE Experimental use of a low cost autonomous kite plane for aerial photography and reconnaissance Conference Paper uri icon


  • An experimental kite-plane capable of autonomous aerial imaging is introduced as a viable low-cost small-scale civilian UAV imaging platform ideal for field use. The AUTOKITE fulfills a need currently unmet by other fully automated Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), resulting from ease of operation, extended flight time, and overall reliability. The AUTOKITE is outfitted with an off-the-shelf autopilot system, and has demonstrated fully autonomous flight in field deployments while collecting high-resolution (12 cm/pixel) images. The AUTOKITE has been used to map regions historically prone to earthquakes along the Southern San Andreas Fault in California. Comparative image methods enabled by photogrammetric software, like Agisoft's PhotoScan, are then used to discern Structure-from-Motion (SfM) from a multitude of aerial images taken by AUTOKITE [8]. Processing SfM data from overlapping images results in the creation of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and Orthophotos for geographic areas of interest. In addition to sample data sets illustrating the SfM process, The AUTOKITE is compared with three alternative UAV systems, and payload integration/automation details are discussed. 2013 IEEE.

name of conference

  • 2013 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS)

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • McGarey, P., & Saripalli, S.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • McGarey, Patrick||Saripalli, Srikanth

publication date

  • May 2013