Available Technology

Synchronized autonomous docking system

A synchronized target subsystem for use in an automated docking system for docking a chase vehicle with a target vehicle wherein the chase vehicle is provided with a video camera for feeding digitized frames to an image processing unit which controls a timing circuit. The timing circuit turns on the video camera to digitize a foreground frame and at the same time turns on a transmitter on the chase vehicle. A power generating antenna on the target vehicle receives the transmitted signal from the transmitter and actuates lights on the chase vehicle so that these lights appear in the foreground frame. After the foreground frame has been grabbed, the timing circuit turns the transmitter off and signals the video camera to digitize a background frame. The image processing unit subtracts the background frame from the foreground frame and provides a docking signal.
Inventors: 

Michael L. Book, Thomas C. Bryan, Richard T. Howard

Patent Number: 
US6227495
Patent Issue Date: 
June 8, 2001
Agency
NASA
Region
Southeast
State: 
Alabama
Lab Representatives
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