Operating a tandem mapping system

mapKITE is build upon an aerial and a terrestrial component. The aerial component consists on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) equipped with remote sensing instruments and a navigation, guidance and control system (i.e autopilot), and a Terrestrial Vehicle (TV), driven by a human operator and equipped with remote sensing instruments and a real-time navigation system. This tandem operates in the following way: the TV computes a real-time trajectory by means of its real-time (high-grade) navigation system. By doing so, a set of waypoints are generated as route inputs for the UAV just by converting TV navigation (time, position, velocity and attitude parameters) into UA commands (height and heading to be followed at each epoch). Such as mechanism creates a 'virtual tether' by which the UA always follows the TV.

In order to provide the necessary robustness level to the virtual tether, two key features are added in mapKITE. Firstly, the use of the new Galileo E5 AltBOC modulation with unique properties against GNSS multipath will ensure error mitigation in the computation of the TV navigation solution. And secondly, a target-tracking system will be available at the UA to identify and track in real-time a target (placed on the TV and visible from the UA) and therefore to perform precise relative TV-UA navigation.