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Concept: Dead reckoning


Dead-reckoning (DR) algorithms, which use self-contained inertial sensors combined with gait analysis, have proven to be effective for pedestrian navigation purposes. In such DR systems, the primary error is often due to accumulated heading drifts. By tightly integrating global navigation satellite system (GNSS) Doppler measurements with DR, such accumulated heading errors can usually be accurately compensated. Under weak signal conditions, high sensitivity GNSS (HSGNSS) receivers with block processing techniques are often used, however, the Doppler quality of such receivers is relatively poor due to multipath, fading and signal attenuation. This often limits the benefits of integrating HSGNSS Doppler with DR. This paper investigates the benefits of using Doppler measurements from a novel direct vector HSGNSS receiver with pedestrian dead-reckoning (PDR) for indoor navigation. An indoor signal and multipath model is introduced which explains how conventional HSGNSS Doppler measurements are affected by indoor multipath. Velocity and Doppler estimated by using direct vector receivers are introduced and discussed. Real experimental data is processed and analyzed to assess the veracity of proposed method. It is shown when integrating HSGNSS Doppler with PDR algorithm, the proposed direct vector method are more helpful than conventional block processing method for the indoor environments considered herein.

Concepts: Algorithm, Navigation, Global Positioning System, Dead reckoning, Satellite navigation system, Global navigation satellite system, Satellite navigation systems, Fading


Advances in the development of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) have made possible the fabrication of cheap and small dimension accelerometers and gyroscopes, which are being used in many applications where the global positioning system (GPS) and the inertial navigation system (INS) integration is carried out, i.e., identifying track defects, terrestrial and pedestrian navigation, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), stabilization of many platforms, etc. Although these MEMS sensors are low-cost, they present different errors, which degrade the accuracy of the navigation systems in a short period of time. Therefore, a suitable modeling of these errors is necessary in order to minimize them and, consequently, improve the system performance. In this work, the most used techniques currently to analyze the stochastic errors that affect these sensors are shown and compared: we examine in detail the autocorrelation, the Allan variance (AV) and the power spectral density (PSD) techniques. Subsequently, an analysis and modeling of the inertial sensors, which combines autoregressive (AR) filters and wavelet de-noising, is also achieved. Since a low-cost INS (MEMS grade) presents error sources with short-term (high-frequency) and long-term (low-frequency) components, we introduce a method that compensates for these error terms by doing a complete analysis of Allan variance, wavelet de-nosing and the selection of the level of decomposition for a suitable combination between these techniques. Eventually, in order to assess the stochastic models obtained with these techniques, the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) of a loosely-coupled GPS/INS integration strategy is augmented with different states. Results show a comparison between the proposed method and the traditional sensor error models under GPS signal blockages using real data collected in urban roadways.

Concepts: Estimation theory, Signal processing, Inertial navigation system, Accelerometer, Global Positioning System, Dead reckoning, Autocorrelation, Unmanned aerial vehicle


The integrated navigation system with strapdown inertial navigation system (SINS), Beidou (BD) receiver and Doppler velocity log (DVL) can be used in marine applications owing to the fact that the redundant and complementary information from different sensors can markedly improve the system accuracy. However, the existence of multisensor asynchrony will introduce errors into the system. In order to deal with the problem, conventionally the sampling interval is subdivided, which increases the computational complexity. In this paper, an innovative integrated navigation algorithm based on a Cubature Kalman filter (CKF) is proposed correspondingly. A nonlinear system model and observation model for the SINS/BD/DVL integrated system are established to more accurately describe the system. By taking multi-sensor asynchronization into account, a new sampling principle is proposed to make the best use of each sensor’s information. Further, CKF is introduced in this new algorithm to enable the improvement of the filtering accuracy. The performance of this new algorithm has been examined through numerical simulations. The results have shown that the positional error can be effectively reduced with the new integrated navigation algorithm. Compared with the traditional algorithm based on EKF, the accuracy of the SINS/BD/DVL integrated navigation system is improved, making the proposed nonlinear integrated navigation algorithm feasible and efficient.

Concepts: Better, Improve, Signal processing, Integral, Inertial navigation system, Doppler effect, Computational complexity theory, Dead reckoning


The Kalman filter has been widely applied in the field of dynamic navigation and positioning. However, its performance will be degraded in the presence of significant model errors and uncertain interferences. In the literature, the fading filter was proposed to control the influences of the model errors, and the H-infinity filter can be adopted to address the uncertainties by minimizing the estimation error in the worst case. In this paper, a new multiple fading factor, suitable for the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Inertial Navigation System (INS) integrated navigation system, is proposed based on the optimization of the filter, and a comprehensive filtering algorithm is constructed by integrating the advantages of the H-infinity filter and the proposed multiple fading filter. Measurement data of the GPS/INS integrated navigation system are collected under actual conditions. Stability and robustness of the proposed filtering algorithm are tested with various experiments and contrastive analysis are performed with the measurement data. Results demonstrate that both the filter divergence and the influences of outliers are restrained effectively with the proposed filtering algorithm, and precision of the filtering results are improved simultaneously.

Concepts: Estimation theory, Kalman filter, Global Positioning System, Dead reckoning, Automotive navigation system, GPS, Navigational equipment, Korean Air Lines Flight 007


In-motion alignment of Strapdown Inertial Navigation Systems (SINS) without any geodetic-frame observations is one of the toughest challenges for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). This paper presents a novel scheme for Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) aided SINS alignment using Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) which allows large initial misalignments. With the proposed mechanism, a nonlinear SINS error model is presented and the measurement model is derived under the assumption that large misalignments may exist. Since a priori knowledge of the measurement noise covariance is of great importance to robustness of the UKF, the covariance-matching methods widely used in the Adaptive KF (AKF) are extended for use in Adaptive UKF (AUKF). Experimental results show that the proposed DVL-aided alignment model is effective with any initial heading errors. The performances of the adaptive filtering methods are evaluated with regards to their parameter estimation stability. Furthermore, it is clearly shown that the measurement noise covariance can be estimated reliably by the adaptive UKF methods and hence improve the performance of the alignment.

Concepts: Estimation theory, Estimator, Signal processing, Kalman filter, Wiener filter, Dead reckoning, Ensemble Kalman filter, Particle filter


Mammals navigate by means of a metric cognitive map. Insects, most notably bees and ants, are also impressive navigators. The question whether they, too, have a metric cognitive map is important to cognitive science and neuroscience. Experimentally captured and displaced bees often depart from the release site in the compass direction they were bent on before their capture, even though this no longer heads them toward their goal. When they discover their error, however, the bees set off more or less directly toward their goal. This ability to orient toward a goal from an arbitrary point in the familiar environment is evidence that they have an integrated metric map of the experienced environment. We report a test of an alternative hypothesis, which is that all the bees have in memory is a collection of snapshots that enable them to recognize different landmarks and, associated with each such snapshot, a sun-compass-referenced home vector derived from dead reckoning done before and after previous visits to the landmark. We show that a large shift in the sun-compass rapidly induced by general anesthesia does not alter the accuracy or speed of the homeward-oriented flight made after the bees discover the error in their initial postrelease flight. This result rules out the sun-referenced home-vector hypothesis, further strengthening the now extensive evidence for a metric cognitive map in bees.

Concepts: Psychology, Insect, Neuroscience, Cognitive science, Empiricism, Navigation, Dead reckoning, Compass


Ants use multiple sources of information to navigate, but do not integrate all this information into a unified representation of the world. Rather, the available information appears to serve three distinct main navigational systems: path integration, systematic search and the use of learnt information-mainly via vision. Here, we report on an additional behaviour that suggests a supplemental system in the ant’s navigational toolkit: ‘backtracking’. Homing ants, having almost reached their nest but, suddenly displaced to unfamiliar areas, did not show the characteristic undirected headings of systematic searches. Instead, these ants backtracked in the compass direction opposite to the path that they had just travelled. The ecological function of this behaviour is clear as we show it increases the chances of returning to familiar terrain. Importantly, the mechanistic implications of this behaviour stress an extra level of cognitive complexity in ant navigation. Our results imply: (i) the presence of a type of ‘memory of the current trip’ allowing lost ants to take into account the familiar view recently experienced, and (ii) direct sharing of information across different navigational systems. We propose a revised architecture of the ant’s navigational toolkit illustrating how the different systems may interact to produce adaptive behaviours.

Concepts: Psychology, Ecology, Navigation, Orientation, Behavior, Ant, Dead reckoning, Compass


An enhanced pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR) based navigation algorithm, which uses two cascaded Kalman filters (TCKF) for the estimation of course angle and navigation errors, is proposed. The proposed algorithm uses a foot-mounted inertial measurement unit (IMU), waist-mounted magnetic sensors, and a zero velocity update (ZUPT) based inertial navigation technique with TCKF. The first stage filter estimates the course angle error of a human, which is closely related to the heading error of the IMU. In order to obtain the course measurements, the filter uses magnetic sensors and a position-trace based course angle. For preventing magnetic disturbance from contaminating the estimation, the magnetic sensors are attached to the waistband. Because the course angle error is mainly due to the heading error of the IMU, and the characteristic error of the heading angle is highly dependent on that of the course angle, the estimated course angle error is used as a measurement for estimating the heading error in the second stage filter. At the second stage, an inertial navigation system-extended Kalman filter-ZUPT (INS-EKF-ZUPT) method is adopted. As the heading error is estimated directly by using course-angle error measurements, the estimation accuracy for the heading and yaw gyro bias can be enhanced, compared with the ZUPT-only case, which eventually enhances the position accuracy more efficiently. The performance enhancements are verified via experiments, and the way-point position error for the proposed method is compared with those for the ZUPT-only case and with other cases that use ZUPT and various types of magnetic heading measurements. The results show that the position errors are reduced by a maximum of 90% compared with the conventional ZUPT based PDR algorithms.

Concepts: Estimation theory, Measurement, Signal processing, Estimation, Units of measurement, Kalman filter, Dead reckoning, Rocket


In order to meet the requirements of autonomy and reliability for the navigation system, combined with the method of measuring speed by using the spectral redshift information of the natural celestial bodies, a new scheme, consisting of Strapdown Inertial Navigation System (SINS)/Spectral Redshift (SRS)/Geomagnetic Navigation System (GNS), is designed for autonomous integrated navigation systems. The principle of this SINS/SRS/GNS autonomous integrated navigation system is explored, and the corresponding mathematical model is established. Furthermore, a robust adaptive central difference particle filtering algorithm is proposed for this autonomous integrated navigation system. The simulation experiments are conducted and the results show that the designed SINS/SRS/GNS autonomous integrated navigation system possesses good autonomy, strong robustness and high reliability, thus providing a new solution for autonomous navigation technology.

Concepts: Mathematics, Control theory, Failure, Inertial navigation system, Autonomous robot, Mathematical model, Dead reckoning, Automotive navigation system


To solve the navigation accuracy problems of multi-Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (multi-UUVs) in the polar region, a polar cooperative navigation algorithm for multi-UUVs considering communication delays is proposed in this paper. UUVs are important pieces of equipment in ocean engineering for marine development. For UUVs to complete missions, precise navigation is necessary. It is difficult for UUVs to establish true headings because of the rapid convergence of Earth meridians and the severe polar environment. Based on the polar grid navigation algorithm, UUV navigation in the polar region can be accomplished with the Strapdown Inertial Navigation System (SINS) in the grid frame. To save costs, a leader-follower type of system is introduced in this paper. The leader UUV helps the follower UUVs to achieve high navigation accuracy. Follower UUVs correct their own states based on the information sent by the leader UUV and the relative position measured by ultra-short baseline (USBL) acoustic positioning. The underwater acoustic communication delay is quantized by the model. In this paper, considering underwater acoustic communication delay, the conventional adaptive Kalman filter (AKF) is modified to adapt to polar cooperative navigation. The results demonstrate that the polar cooperative navigation algorithm for multi-UUVs that considers communication delays can effectively navigate the sailing of multi-UUVs in the polar region.

Concepts: Earth, Navigation, Kalman filter, Inertial navigation system, Polar region, Dead reckoning, Rocket, Submarine