We present a state estimator for a UAV operating in an environment equipped with ultra-wideband radio beacons. The beacons allow the UAV to measure distances to known positions in the world. The estimator additionally uses the vehicle’s rate gyroscope and accelerometer, and crucially does not rely on any knowledge of the vehicle’s dynamic properties (e.g. mass, mass moment of inertia, aerodynamic properties). This makes the estimator especially useful in situations where the exact system parameters are unknown (e.g. due to unknown payloads), or where the environment is unpredictable (e.g. wind gusts). Experimental results demonstrate the approach’s efficacy, and demonstrate that the estimator can run on low-cost microcontrollers with typical sensors.

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