Flight Synchronization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Off Road Vehicle
Publication Date: 2017-Mar-03
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Title: Flight Synchronization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Off Road Vehicle
Description: As described below, a system that synchronizes the flight path of one or more UAVs with one or
more off‐road vehicles, is disclosed.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are used in various applications including, but not limited to, agricultural and construction worksites. In many instances control of the UAVs require manual inputs with regards to three‐dimensional flight coordinates or waypoints. For example, in a field or worksite there may not be any know systems that a UAV may utilize in order to synchronize flight patterns with an off‐road vehicle. As such, a UAV operator must manually maneuver the UAV to stay in a desired flight pattern or offset separation with respect the off‐road ground vehicle.
A computer system on the off‐road ground vehicle receives or accesses a ground path plan for the ground vehicle to navigate over a field, path or work area and the computer system creates a flight plan for the UAV within a range of three‐dimensional spatial offsets to the ground path plan to synchronize the flight path with the ground path plan. For example, the flight path plan can include one or more of latitude, longitude, elevation or other flight path characteristic of one or more UAV (aka UAS, or Unmanned Aircraft System) with one or more off‐road vehicles. Synchronize means that the ground path plan and corresponding flight plan are aligned or synchronized in time to maintain a target spatial separation between the ground vehicle and the UAV. The synchronization may include various modes or procedures such as alignment mode, obstacle avoidance mode, offset management mode, or other movement or operation of the UAV with regards to the off‐road vehicle or as a means to interact with the paths of all air and ground vehicles in close proximity.
The ground path plan and the flight plan of one or more UAVs is synchronized by wireless communications with the position and drive path of one or more off‐road vehicles, and the means to align and move between relative offsets of the vehicle or any implement that the vehicle may be towing (for example, maintain a position at a certain height, heading and distance in relation to the off‐road vehicle or a towed implement). For instance, in one configuration the primary communication conduit between the vehicles is a wireless meshing network, although any suitable wireless communications channels could be used.
If the ground vehicle has a first path plan and the UAV has a second path plan (e.g., covering entire field) with an offset range (e.g., in two or three dimensions), there are advantages (e.g., better synchronized tracking by eliminating processing delay in leader‐follower mode) to eliminate time delay by pre‐planning the first path and the second path, rather than using a leader follower mode. However, if the ground vehicle departs from the first path plan, th...