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A review of UAV autonomous navigation in GPS-denied environments

Cheng, Yongqiang, Chang, Yingxiu, Murray, John and Manzoor, Umar (2023) A review of UAV autonomous navigation in GPS-denied environments. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 170. ISSN 0921-8890

Item Type: Article


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have drawn increased research interest in recent years, leading to a vast number of applications, such as, terrain exploration, disaster assistance and industrial inspection. Unlike UAV navigation in outdoor environments that rely on GPS (Global Positioning System) for localization, indoor navigation cannot rely on GPS due to the poor quality or lack of signal. Although some reviewing papers particularly summarized indoor navigation strategies (e.g., Visual-based Navigation) or their specific sub-components (e.g., localization and path planning) in detail, there still lacks a comprehensive survey for the complete navigation strategies that cover different technologies. This paper proposes a taxonomy which firstly classifies the navigation strategies into Mapless and Map-based ones based on map usage and then, respectively categorizes the Mapless navigation into Integrated, Direct and Indirect approaches via common characteristics. The Map-based navigation is then split into Known Map/Spaces and Map-building via prior knowledge. In order to analyze these navigation strategies, this paper uses three evaluation metrics (Path Length, Deviation Rate and Exploration Efficiency) according to the common purposes of navigation to show how well they can perform. Furthermore, three representative strategies were selected and 120 flying experiments conducted in two reality-like simulated indoor environments to show their performances against the evaluation metrics proposed in this paper, i.e., the ratio of Successful Flight, the Mean time of Successful Flight, the Mean Length of Successful Flight, the Mean time of Flight, and the Mean Length of Flight. In comparison to the CNN-based Supervised Learning (directly maps visual observations to UAV controls) and the Frontier-based navigation (necessitates continuous global map generation), the experiments show that the CNN-based Distance Estimation for navigation trades off the ratio of Successful Flight and the required time and path length. Moreover, this paper identifies the current challenges and opportunities which will drive UAV navigation research in GPS-denied environments.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: UAV GPS-denied navigation Self-exploration Performance evaluation metrics
Depositing User: Yongqiang Cheng


Item ID: 16820
Identification Number:
ISSN: 0921-8890
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Yongqiang Cheng: ORCID iD
ORCID for John Murray: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2023 15:10
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2023 15:15


Author: Yongqiang Cheng ORCID iD
Author: John Murray ORCID iD
Author: Yingxiu Chang
Author: Umar Manzoor

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Faculty of Technology > School of Computer Science



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