GPS Denied Navigation of Autonomous Parafoil Systems Using Beacon Measurements from a Single Location

[+] Author and Article Information
Martin Cacan

Graduate Research Assistant, Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Center for Advanced Machine Mobility, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA

Mark Costello

David S. Lewis Professor of Autonomy, Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering and Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Earthly Dynamics Corporation, Atlanta, Georgia 30309, USA

Edward Scheuermann

Senior Research Engineer, 1447 Peachtree Street N Suite 610 Atlanta, GA 30309

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037654 History: Received November 10, 2016; Revised August 10, 2017


Precision guided airdrop systems have shown considerable accuracy improvements over more widely used unguided systems through high quality position, velocity, and time feedback provided by GPS. These systems, like many autonomous vehicles, have become solely dependent on GPS to conduct mission operations. This necessity makes airdrop systems susceptible to GPS blackout in mountainous or urban terrain due to multi-pathing issues or from signal jamming in active military zones. This work overcomes loss of GPS through an analysis of guidance, navigation and control capabilities using a single radio frequency beacon located at the target. Such a device can be deployed at the target by ground crew on site to retrieve package delivery. Two novel guidance, navigation, and control algorithms are presented which use either range from or direction to a radio frequency beacon. Simulation and experimental flight testing results indicated that beacon-based methods can achieve similar results as GPS-based methods. This technology provides a simple and elegant solution to GPS blackout with best method studied showing only a 21\% decrease in landing accuracy in comparison to GPS-based methods.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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