• Tracking Track Targets in External Store Separation Using Computer Vision

      Kusomoto, André Yoshimi; de Vasconcelos, Luis Edwardo Guarino; Leite, Nelson Paiva Oliveira; Lopes, Cristina Monis Araújo; Pirk, Rogério; Instituto de Pesquisas e Ensaios em Voo; Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (International Foundation for Telemetering, 2014-10)
      Flight tests and flight safety are tightly coupled. For a given experimental test flight, the main objective to be achieved is related to the test bed and crew integrity (i.e. Bring back the test bed in one piece). Furthermore, the aircraft operational safety (i.e. continued airworthiness) relies into the accuracy of gathered information, provided by the airborne Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI) system. Typically, the FTI system includes: a data acquisition system; a transmission system; a data recorder; multiple sensors and auxiliary equipment such as Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Receiver. In a specific Flight Test Campaign (FTC), such as external stores separation FTC, the associated risk is high because the non-linear and unpredicted aerodynamics couplings between the released store and the aircraft structure (e.g. wings) could lead to a catastrophic collision condition. Typically, the setup for such FTC is a big technical challenge for the instrumentation group because the determination of six degrees of freedom (6Dof) trajectory of the release store becomes mandatory. Such information could be by the means of an optical tracking system that requires the integration of two or more hi-speed hi-resolution video cameras into FTI. Unfortunately, the FTI and the Real-Time Telemetry Link (RTL) limited bandwidth imposes several restrictions for the development and implementation of a real-time application to be used at the Ground Telemetry System (GTS) for the verification of the separation safety and the validation of the test point. This paper, presents the implementation of computer vision techniques and Camshift algorithm as an approach to tracking individual track targets on the store surface which can be perform onboard and in real time or near real time. The development of the algorithm is presented as well several experimental test results that use videos frames gathered from previous FTC executed by Instituto de Pesquisas e Ensaios em Voo (Flight Test and Research Institute - IPEV). Preliminary results present satisfactory performance.