An adaptive sensor-switching framework for urban UAS navigation

Suraj Bijjahalli, Yixiang Lim, Subramanian Ramasamy, Roberto Sabatini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A robust and high-integrity navigation system is required for supporting Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations in dense urban environments. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) provides the primary means of navigation in civil aviation for manned and unmanned aircraft. GNSS however has failure modes that might be exacerbated in urban environments, leading to loss of navigation data or significant performance degradations. This paper presents a performance-based sensor switching strategy that allows fulfilling UAS navigation requirements in areas where GNSS is unavailable or exhibits degraded performance. An error analysis of GNSS is accomplished to inform the design of a performance evaluation module capable of predicting and assessing in real-time the current UAS navigation performance. In an integrated multi-sensor architecture based on GNSS (primary positioning sensor), Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Vision-Based Navigation (VBN), Adaptive Boolean Decision Logics (ABDL) are implemented to prioritise the various available navigation sensors to maintain the required level of performance. The designed architecture was tested in a virtual UAS test-bed to determine points at which sensor switching could be initiated. An UAS flight in an urban environment was simulated, along with different modes of individual sensor loss and degradation. The designed functionalities are targeted to address the challenging navigation performance requirements emerging in the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) context, enabling seamless and robust operation of UAS in the event of intermittent sensor accuracy, availability, continuity and integrity.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publication2017 IEEE/AIAA 36th Digital Avionics Systems Conference, DASC 2017 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781538603659
StatePublished - 8 Nov 2017
Event36th IEEE/AIAA Digital Avionics Systems Conference, DASC 2017 - St. Petersburg, United States
Duration: 17 Sep 201721 Sep 2017

Publication series

NameAIAA/IEEE Digital Avionics Systems Conference - Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2155-7195
ISSN (Electronic)2155-7209


Conference36th IEEE/AIAA Digital Avionics Systems Conference, DASC 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySt. Petersburg


  • Adaptive Boolean Decision Logics (ABDL)
  • multi-sensor navigation system
  • performance monitoring
  • sensor-switching
  • Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)
  • urban environment


Dive into the research topics of 'An adaptive sensor-switching framework for urban UAS navigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this