Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Arun K. Somani


This thesis presents a novel robotic navigation strategy by using a conventional tactical monocular camera, proving the feasibility of using a monocular camera as the sole proximity sensing, object avoidance, mapping, and path-planning mechanism to fly and navigate small to medium scale unmanned rotary-wing aircraft in an autonomous manner. The range measurement strategy is scalable, self-calibrating, indoor-outdoor capable, and has been biologically inspired by the key adaptive mechanisms for depth perception and pattern recognition found in humans and intelligent animals (particularly bats), designed to assume operations in previously unknown, GPS-denied environments. It proposes novel electronics, aircraft, aircraft systems, systems, and procedures and algorithms that come together to form airborne systems which measure absolute ranges from a monocular camera via passive photometry, mimicking that of a human-pilot like judgement. The research is intended to bridge the gap between practical GPS coverage and precision localization and mapping problem in a small aircraft. In the context of this study, several robotic platforms, airborne and ground alike, have been developed, some of which have been integrated in real-life field trials, for experimental validation. Albeit the emphasis on miniature robotic aircraft this research has been tested and found compatible with tactical vests and helmets, and it can be used to augment the reliability of many other types of proximity sensors.


Copyright Owner

Koray Celik



File Format


File Size

765 pages