8 April 2013 Integration and flight test of a biomimetic heading sensor
Author Affiliations +
We report on the first successful development and implementation of an automatic polarisation compass as the primary heading sensor for a UAV. Polarisation compassing is the primary navigation sense of many flying and walking insects, including bees, ants and crickets. Manually operated polarisation astrolabes were fitted in some passenger airliners prior to the implementation of the global positioning system, to compensate for the overal degradation of magnetic and gyrocompass sensors in polar regions. The device we developed demonstrated accurate determination of the direction of the Sun, with repeatability of better than 0.2 degrees. These figures are comparable to any solid state magnetic compass, including flux gate based devices. Flight trials were undertaken in which the output of the polarimeter was the only heading reference used by the aircraft as it flew through GPS waypoints.
© (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Javaan Chahl, Javaan Chahl, Akiko Mizutani, Akiko Mizutani, "Integration and flight test of a biomimetic heading sensor", Proc. SPIE 8686, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2013, 86860E (8 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2009680; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2009680


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