We have developed a noncontact, robust and lightweight optical Position Sensing
Device (PSD) capable of measuring the angular position of a contrasting edge with
a very high accuracy in ambient light. This sensor is highly suitable for self
positioning or optical tracking systems embedded onboard ships, aircraft, ROV,
UAVs, UGVs, microsatellites and landers. The device is also capable to detect the
presence of a thin bar present in its visual field of view.
GPS based self positioning systems are slow and inaccurate. Besides, they do not
allow moving objects to be tracked and may suffer from signal dropouts.
Our sensor can operate under many lighting conditions, within a spectral
range that can be selected from UV to terahertz. It is relatively insensitive to
contrast within a large illuminance range. The system is simple, easy to set
up, and satisfies both civilian and military norms. It is also suitable for
applications requiring a wide field of view since many (low cost and
lightweight) sensors of this kind can be mounted adjacent to one another

Points forts

Statut du développement

We built a sensor prototype that measures the position of a contrasting object with a high accuracy, within a wide illuminance range and for a wide range of contrast. The sensor was tested onboard a 100-gram aerial robot that achieved


  • Autopilot for UAVs, MAVs, ROVs, UGVs, and spatial vehicles: drift free system stabilizer, precise hovering and precise docking.
  • Drift correction: can compensate for the natural drift of miniature IMUs
  • Cable detector for manned or unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles
  • Automatic crash avoidance

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Disponible pour licence et partenariat R&D


Aix-Marseille Université

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