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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2011, Article ID 243268, 17 pages
Review Article

Vision-Based Tracking of Uncooperative Targets

1School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
2Department of Systems Control and Flight Dynamics, ONERA, 31055 Toulouse, France
3Guided Systems Technologies, Stockbridge, GA 30281, USA

Received 2 July 2010; Revised 6 November 2010; Accepted 28 February 2011

Academic Editor: Yu Gu

Copyright © 2011 Suresh K. Kannan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a summary of a subset of the extensive vision-based tracking methods developed at Georgia Tech. The problem of a follower aircraft tracking an uncooperative leader, using vision information only, is addressed. In all the results presented, a single monocular camera is used as the sole source of information used to maintain formation with the leader. A Kalman filter formulation is provided for the case where image processing may be used to estimate leader motion in the image plane. An additional piece of information, the subtended angle, also available from computer vision algorithm is used to improve range estimation accuracy. In situations where subtended angle information is not available, an optimal trajectory is generated that improves range estimation accuracy. Finally, assumptions on the target acceleration are relaxed by augmenting a Kalman Filter with an adaptive element.