Du, Ju-Young (2004-12). Vision based navigation system for autonomous proximity operations: an experimental and analytical study. Doctoral Dissertation.
This dissertation presents an experimental and analytical study of the Vision Based Navigation system (VisNav). VisNav is a novel intelligent optical sensor system invented by Texas A&M University recently for autonomous proximity operations. This dissertation is focused on system calibration techniques and navigation algorithms. This dissertation is composed of four parts. First, the fundamental hardware and software design configuration of the VisNav system is introduced. Second, system calibration techniques are discussed that should enable an accurate VisNav system application, as well as characterization of errors. Third, a new six degree-of-freedom navigation algorithm based on the Gaussian Least Squares Differential Correction is presented that provides a geometrical best position and attitude estimates through batch iterations. Finally, a dynamic state estimation algorithm utilizing the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) is developed that recursively estimates position, attitude, linear velocities, and angular rates. Moreover, an approach for integration of VisNav measurements with those made by an Inertial Measuring Unit (IMU) is derived. This novel VisNav/IMU integration technique is shown to significantly improve the navigation accuracy and guarantee the robustness of the navigation system in the event of occasional dropout of VisNav data.