Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have grown in popularity over the past few years, finding applications in a large array of fields including agriculture, military scouting, search and rescue, photography, live streaming, and pipeline inspections. Moreover, these are also used in synchronized and collaborative groups in order to accomplish tasks that a single drone cannot complete.
These drones consist of a number of thrust-inducing rotors that are used to lift the device, and propel it in any direction, as required. The most common form is the quad-copter, which consists of four rotors. Lately, this is an area of active research and efforts are being undertaken to improve the battery life and navigation systems, among other aspects, of drones.
A new patent titled, Unmanned Aircraft, and Method and System for Navigation, has been applied for in the U.S. by a group of three: Yun Yu, Jianyu Song, and Guoxiu Pan, working for drone giant DJI. The patent is classified as a ‘Navigation or guidance aids for a single aircraft specially adapted for an unmanned aircraft’.
The patent provides a redundant topological configuration to effect a redundant control mechanism of the unmanned aircraft, and this is expected to improve precision in navigation and reliability in flight.
The breakdown and components of the navigation system of a UAV is described. This system includes a master navigation device, a slave navigation device, and a controller. The master navigation device includes at least one measurement component, as does the slave navigation device, which has those same measurement components to provide redundancy support. The controller is configured to produce a navigation using the measurement components of the master and slave navigation device.
UAVs are manipulated by wireless remote control devices and onboard program-controlled devices. UAVs are low cost, maneuverable, and easy to operate; therefore, UAVs have been widely used in various fields including military and civil applications. An unmanned aircraft’s operation may rely on precise navigation information, particularly in applications such as search and rescue. Therefore, there is a need to improve the navigation system of the unmanned aircraft.
The master and slave navigation devices are configured to communicate with the controller using either a serial communication bus, or a Controller Area Network (CAN) communication bus. The master and slave device both will include one inertial measurement component, one positioning component, one magnetic sensing component, and it could also be a combination of these all. Moreover, a visual component will be connected to the controller.
Click here to read the patent in full.