IRIS-02-412

A Testbed for Autonomous Formation Flying

David Naffin and Gaurav S. Sukhatme

This paper outlines the design of an autonomous flying vehicle (AFV) for use in researching formation flying. Specifically, we have designed a small autonomous model helicopter as a reference vehicle. Once several more units have been constructed, these vehicles will form a test bed for formation experiments. In this paper various design decisions are presented as well as results from early testing of the reference design. A novel approach to relative localization within formations using just a single downward-pointing camera is discussed.