It seems that Ingenuity has a 4000 pixel camera, a gyro, inclinometer and an altimeter. Using these information, they are able to derive three axis velocity information. Thereby compensating for the inability to put a doppler velocity instrument.

In Page 11 of Mars Helicopter Technology Demonstrator (also here 1, 2):

This processor implements visual navigation via a velocity estimate derived from features tracked in the VGA camera, filter propagation for use in flight control, data management, command processing, telemetry generation, and radio communication.

I have two questions basically,

  1. How are they able to do that? I am looking for the algorithm/equations used. Are they looking at pixel shift or some ML algorithm is implemented?
  2. What are the accuracies compared the traditional doppler velocity instruments in landers at the height where ingenuity will operate.
  • $\begingroup$ great question!! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 28, 2021 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Prakhar This doesn't answer your question at all, but there's a little discussion about 8 mins in: youtube.com/watch?v=GhsZUZmJvaM $\endgroup$
    – Roger Wood
    Feb 28, 2021 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ Optical flow is supposed to be pretty simple. $\endgroup$
    – ikrase
    Feb 28, 2021 at 9:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "A few dozen features are compared frame to frame to track relative position to figure out direction and speed, " spectrum.ieee.org/automation/aerospace/robotic-exploration/… $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Mar 3, 2021 at 18:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That is a good read @Cornelisinspace $\endgroup$
    – zephyr0110
    Mar 4, 2021 at 10:52


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