Best Drone Localization Technique


I am working on a project where I need a quadcopter to accurately know its location relative to a starting point in a GPS denied environment in the dark.

A quick overview of the project:
The drone will be mounted on a vehicle in a docking station
When prompted, the drone must hover above the vehicle by ~20 m
The drone must be able to accurately locate its position relative to the docking station in the dark without GPS
The drone must also be able to react to movement of the vehicle (very small movements in nature)
When finished, the drone will return to the docking station

Given the requirements of the problem I have been looking at a couple solutions:
1. Use around 3 infrared beacons on different parts of the vehicle with a camera on the drone to perform localization (looking at the IR-LOCK sensor and beacons for this purpose)
2. Use ultra-wideband communication with a similar setup of three or so anchors and one receiver on the drone (looking at the Pozyx anchors and tag)
3. Use bluetooth of some sort (haven't looked into this one as much)

Any suggestions or tips you may have would be greatly appreciated. My main conerns are that I do not lose connection between the beacon and sensor and that it is reliable. Thank you!

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  • Hi,
    wow what an exciting project. Sounds like a cool recording do you already have new ideas how to solve the problem? I would be very interested to know if it is that easy to achieve.
  • Hi Nathan, I think it is a great idea, May i know it's application filed firstly? How it can benifit for human?
  • If you want to keep the vehicle passive, install infrared illuminators on your aircraft and an infrared sensitive camera. I am assuming you are very much cost constrained, so try a little OV5647 camera with near IR illuminators available from AliExpress or other vendors for ~15$. Plug into a Raspberry Pi and use OpenCV to determine offset.
    • Did you mean to put the illuminators on the vehicle? Thank you!
  • 3D Robotics
    Use IRLock
    IR-LOCK | Official Pixhawk2.1 Store
    Official Store for Pixhawk2.1, Cube, RFD900, Lightware, Benewake, Pixy, IR-LOCK, and more. Developer of Precision Landing hardware and software for a…
    • I am a little concerned about the range. Do you think I would have any issues if I was operating at 20-30m?
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