Visually guided landing of an unmanned aerial vehicle

Srikanth Saripalli, James F. Montgomery, Gaurav S. Sukhatme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

447 Scopus citations


We present the design and implementation of a real-time, vision-based landing algorithm for an autonomous helicopter. The landing algorithm is integrated with algorithms for visual acquisition of the target (a helipad) and navigation to the target, from an arbitrary initial position and orientation. We use vision for precise target detection and recognition, and a combination of vision and Global Positioning System for navigation. The helicopter updates its landing target parameters based on vision and uses an onboard behavior-based controller to follow a path to the landing site. We present significant results from flight trials in the field which demonstrate that our detection, recognition, and control algorithms are accurate, robust, and repeatable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomous helicopter
  • Autonomous landing
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle
  • Vision-based navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Visually guided landing of an unmanned aerial vehicle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this