Attitude Navigation using a Sigma-Point Kalman Filter in an Error State Formulation

University essay from KTH/Rymd- och plasmafysik

Abstract: Kalman filtering is a well-established method for fusing sensor data in order to accuratelyestimate unknown variables. Recently, the unscented Kalman filter (UKF) has beenused due to its ability to propagate the first and second moments of the probability distribution of an estimated state through a non-linear transformation. The design of ageneric algorithm which implements this filter occupies the first part of this thesis. The generality and functionality of the filter were tested on a toy example and the results are within machine accuracy when compared to those of an equivalent C++ implementation.Application of this filter to the attitude navigation problem becomes non-trivial when coupled to quaternions. Challenges present include the non-commutation of rotations and the dimensionality difference between quaternions and the degrees of freedom of the motion. The second part of this thesis deals with the formulation of the UKF in the quaternion space. This was achieved by implementing an error-state formulation of the process model, bounding estimation in the infinitesimal space and thus de-coupling rotations from non-commutation and bridging the dimensionality discrepancy of quaternions and their respective covariances.The attitude navigation algorithm was then tested using an IMU and a magnetometer.Results show a bounded estimation error which settles to around 1 degree. A detailed look of the filter mechanization process was also presented showing expected behavior for estimation of the initial attitude with error tolerance of 1 mdeg. The structure and design of the proposed formulation allows for trivially incorporating other sensors inthe estimation process and more intricate modelling of the stochastic processes present,potentially leading to greater estimation accuracy.

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