This paper examines accurate image depth determination to achieve accurate navigation. Accurate navigation is critical for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV aerial refueling and, also, space debris clearance operations. At this point it is not the intention to generate a definitive depth performance study, rather the intention is to gain an understanding of the kind of depth performance which might be possible for a small UAV or space-based robot flying close in and far away, at depths of 2 and 20m, for example. The theory behind image depth calculation is explained and then synthetic pixel data are manufactured to determine a 95% confidence interval on image depth under various errors conditions. It is shown that without image rectification and no knowledge of camera rotation, accurate depth can only be calculated for stereo cameras pointing without any axial rotations. With image rectification and under the stated conditions, image depth can be calculated with 8.2% or less absolute relative error. Future research is discussed.
GeoPlanet: Earth and Planetary Sciences
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Sasiadek, J, & Walker, M.J. (Mark J.). (2019). Accurate image depth determination for autonomous vehicle navigation. In GeoPlanet: Earth and Planetary Sciences. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-94517-0_5