Special Issue "UAS Navigation and Orientation"

The trend to develop semi-autonomous and autonomous Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) continues to accelerate. Accurate and ubiquitous UAS navigation and orientation, and UAS high-definition mapping are challenging tasks towards fully-automated and autonomous operations. Currently, no single technology allows the accurate and reliable determination of the position of a UAS at all times. Autonomous flying of a UAS in known and unknown environments requires continuous integration of the navigation sensors data, perception of environmental elements with respect to space and time, understanding of the scene situation through data and information, anticipation of next stages, and ability to make quick knowledge-based decisions based on real-time position and navigation, scene sensing, recognition, understanding and visualization.

The navigation and orientation of UAS provide position, velocity and attitude of the flying platform and its payload sensors within a reference system. These are critical aspects in determining accurately the dynamic state of the platform, its trajectory and route to destination, and in mapping the environment from data captured by the onboard mapping sensors. Navigation, a real-time task, is a critical element of UAS route planning and obstacle sense and avoidance as the UAS explores its surroundings, matching the scene with given databases, detecting and analyzing scene-database differences, “learning” through exploration and understanding and selecting a route based on certain criteria and constraints. Orientation, a post-mission task, is critical in the optimal exploitation of the remotely sensed data for the purposes of sensor position and attitude determination, sensor calibration and sensor synchronization.

This Special Issue focuses on novel and innovative methods and approaches for determining the position, velocity and attitude of the UAS for applications as overarching as input to the autopilots, simultaneous localization and mapping down to very accurate post-mission sensor fusion algorithms for orientation determination. We welcome submissions which provide the community with the most recent advancements on all aspects of UAV Navigation and Orientation, including but not limited to:

  • Direct, indirect and integrated sensor/platform positioning and orientation
  • Vision-based navigation and orientation
  • Single/multiple IMU–Vision-based navigation and orientation
  • Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)
  • Navigation and orientation using machine learning and deep learning
  • Kalman and Particle filtering and other advanced techniques for motion sensor data fusion
  • Computational aspects and incremental approaches
  • Collaborative UAS-UAS and UAS-UGV missions
  • Navigation and orientation in outdoors and indoors environments
  • Autonomous navigation
  • Obstacle detection and avoidance
  • Precise Point Positioning (PPP) navigation
  • Ultra Wide Band (UWB) localization
  • Optical flow–based vision-based navigation
  • Trajectory tracking systems
  • Autopilots and navigation: standard and advanced solutions for navigation integrity
  • Path planning
  • Beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) navigation

Dr. Costas Armenakis
Dr. Ismael Colomina
Guest Editors


Special Issue "Latest Developments, Methodologies and Applications Based on UAV Platforms"

Using small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as data acquisition platforms and autonomous or semi-autonomous measurement instruments has become attractive for many emerging applications. They represent a valid alternative or a complementary solution to traditional platforms especially for extremely high resolution acquisitions on small or inaccessible areas. Thanks to their timely, cheap and extremely rich data acquisition capacity with respect to other acquisition systems, UAVs are emerging as innovative and cost-effective devices to perform numerous urban and environmental tasks.

This Special Issue aims at collecting new developments and methodologies, best practices and applications of UAVs in Geomatics. We welcome submissions which provide the community with the most recent advancements on all aspects of UAV in Geomatics, including but not limited to:

  • Data processing and Photogrammetry
  • Navigation and position/orientation determination
  • Data analysis (image classification, feature extraction, target detection, change detection, biophysical parameter estimation, etc.)
  • Platforms and new sensors on board (multispectral, hyperspectral, thermal, lidar, SAR, gas or radioactivity sensors, etc.)
  • Data fusion: integration of UAV imagery with satellite, aerial or terrestrial data, integration of heterogeneous data captured by UAVs
  • On-line and real time processing / collaborative and fleet of UAVs applied to Geomatics
  • On-board data storage and transmission
  • UAV control, obstacle sense and avoidance
  • Autonomous flight and exploration
  • Applications (3D mapping, urban monitoring, precision farming, forestry, disaster prevention, assessment and monitoring, search and rescue, security, archaeology, industrial plant inspection, etc.)
  • Any use of UAVs related to Geomatics

This Special Issue will also feature selected papers from the UAV-g 2017 conference. Authors wishing to have their work considered for this issue, including those not able to present at the conference, should contact the Guest Editors.

Dr. Francesco Nex
Prof. Dr. Fabio Remondino
Guest Editors