Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Karl Walli, PhD.


This research effort assessed the accuracy of Structure from Motion (SFM) algorithms in replicating aircraft fight trajectories. Structure from Motion techniques can be used to estimate aircraft trajectory by determining the position and pose of an aircraft mounted camera from a sequential series of images taken during flight. An algorithm is proposed and implemented that successfully reconstructed aircraft trajectory using only a known starting position and a sequential series of images. The error in and reliability of the algorithm was found to be a function of image resolution as well as the amount of overlap and angular separation between sequential images. The trajectory estimated by the algorithm drifted from the true trajectory as a function of distance traveled. The drift was dominated by uncertainty in the scale of the reconstruction as well as angular errors in estimated camera orientations. A proposed system architecture that incorporated scale and attitude updates was tested on actual flight test data. The architecture successfully reconstructed a variety of trajectories but drift rates were highly variable.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number