Research

TOPO lab core competencies:

The TOPO lab excels in various research competencies, exercised in numerous past and ongoing projects in three general research directions.

Position Position and attitude determination of moving platforms or subjects is the main-stream of the lab research activity. The laboratory expertise in algorithm development for real-time or post-mission positioning have been applied to vehicle and pedestrian navigation and trajectography. We make use of satellite based (GPS, Glonass) positioning, inertial sensors, magnetic sensors, imagery and lately the networked based positioning via Ultra-wide band or 802.x technology.
Mapping and remote sensing 

Sensor integration and close-range remote sensing competences served in development of task specific or general mobile mapping systems. Geodesy, surveying and cartography are the traditional proficiencies present in the laboratory. High precision surveying by satellite or terrestrial observations as well as network design and adjustment remains the valuable expertise that is regularly made available for consultation or research-mandates.

Current projects: (this section is currently being updated)

Vehicle Dynamic Model Based Navigation
 While the expansion of drone applications seems to grow without boundaries, their implementation is conditioned by operational safety. Related to that is the drone ability to maintain its intended trajectory irrespective to the disturbances in received signals through navigation autonomy. In times when drones navigation relies primary on satellite positioning (e.g. GPS), the fragility of satellite signal reception poses serious concerns in safety. Hence, there is an upswing in proposing backup plans that are mostly based on optical sensing. Nevertheless, limited visibility, resolution, or surface texture, as well as the need for additional sensor(s) that increases the payload and processing complexity are limiting such approaches for specific rather than general usage.
This project enables creation of a new technological platform for navigation of lightweight drones that address the aspects of self-localization safety and opens new market for deploying active optical sensors (LiDAR). The platform enables safe operation in GPS-denied environment by a novel way of using interoceptive means. This shall future proof and extend current market share in accordance with envisioned legislative evolution around the world.
Sponsors
The general development of the project is sponsored by Swiss National Science Foundation, Armasuisse and a specific platform by Swiss Commission for Innovation (InnoSuisse)

Past projects:

Geomatics for road and traffic management.

An adequate road and traffic management is essential for the development of sustainable infrastructures for transportation. Navigation technologies and GIS play a key role in the development of new services and applications in intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

PEACE for UAV (Planning & Estimating Accuracy in a Cluttered Environment for UAV)

This project enables precise mapping of elongated structures in inaccessible natural environment with small drones. Its implementation represents considerable savings for monitoring and management of man-made infrastructure and its protection in complex surroundings. The progress is possible through combination of state-of-the-art flying platform with advanced planning, on-line quality control of aerial vehicle position and accuracy prediction of 3D reconstruction.

Real Time Quality Assessment for Airborne Lidar Mapping

The objective of this project is to put into production a small, flexible and accurate airborne mapping system that integrates laser scanner, digital imagery and navigation sensors. Unique in its size and precision it can be embarked onto a helicopter within few minutes and can provide autonomous surface mapping of an area of interest with a high precision (0.2m) and resolution (<1m²), shortly after the flying mission. Its application span from natural hazards to corridors mapping.