—This paper presents a nonlinear controller for a Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that exploits a measurement of the average optical flow to enable hover and landing control on a moving platform, such as, for example, the deck of a sea going vessel. The VTOL vehicle is assumed to be equipped with a minimum sensor suite (a camera and an IMU), manoeuvring over a textured flat target plane. Two different tasks are considered in this paper: the first concerns stabilizing the vehicle relative to the moving platform, that is maintaining a constant offset from a moving reference. The second concerns regulation of automatic vertical landing onto a moving platform. Rigorous analysis of system stability is provided and simulations are presented. Experimental results are provided for a quadrotor UAV to demonstrate the performance of the proposed control strategy.
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