Articulated Robotic Camera Design and Control – For Use in Remote Control of Aircraft


  1. Vincent, I.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
The Autonomous Intelligent Systems Section, at Defence R&D Canada – Suffield, is developing expertise in unmanned air vehicles (UAV), and is applying remote control technologies to military applications. During trials held in September 2005, using the Silver Fox UAV, some deficiencies of the visual system were observed, and it was concluded that the Silver Fox needs an actuated camera that an operator can orient to investigate suspicious scenes and identify threats. In addition, the ability to use the GPS location of the threat to control the orientation of the camera so that the threat is automatically kept in the field of view as the UAV maneuvers would be extremely useful. Based on those observations, a pan tilt camera mechanism is designed, modeled, built and controlled. The principle of a robotic arm is studied to design the system. The resulting parallel robot consists of three revolute joints providing motion through a 30° vertical arc. Four different control algorithms were implemented and tested with the robotic camera. First, the system is controlled remotely by an operator to track a specific scene manually. Two other algorithms provide the operator with the possibility to scan an area using joint-space or Cartesian-space trajectory planning. Finally, an adaptation of the Cartesian-space algorithm leads to a GPS waypoint tracking control algorithm. The system inverse kinematics gives the joint position required to orient the camera with the waypoint. By looping

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Control;articulated robot
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-TM-2005-253 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Dec 2005
Number of Pages

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