Cooperative Localization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles using ADS-B

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As unmanned aerial systems (UAS) turn into a full-fledged industry, the sky will be much more crowded in the future. Large-scale UAV applications make reliable UAV navigation a pressing need. Traditionally, global navigation satellite system (GNSS) is extensively used as the primary positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) service. However, GNSS is vulnerable to intentional radio interference such as spoofing, jamming, and repeating. Hence, alternative PNT (APNT) attracted many researchers' attention.

In this thesis, instead of GNSS signals, ADS-B signals from piloted aircraft are leveraged for UAV navigation. We propose a cooperative navigation strategy for multiple UAVs in GNSS-denied environments. It consists of: 1) a system-level, leader-follower cooperative strategy; 2) a sensor fusion algorithm for individual UAV navigation based on the extended Kalman filter. Furthermore, the effects of asynchronous clocks are studied and a joint relative positioning and synchronization algorithm is applied to tackle this problem.

Finally, Monte Carlo experiments in a multi-UAV scene are performed to verify the proposed algorithms. The results show that the proposed algorithms achieve a performance comparable to civilian GNSS on the selected data set and under the system assumptions we made. Moreover, the proposed cooperative navigation framework only needs one ground station of limited service capacity as external aid. Compared with large-scale, specialized terrestrial APNT service networks, our proposed framework is more flexible and the system can be deployed in areas without infrastructure.