Many multi-sensor navigation systems urgently demand accurate positioning initialization from global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) in challenging static scenarios. However, ground blockages against line-of-sight (LOS) signal reception make it difficult for GNSS users. Steering local codes in GNSS basebands is a desiring way to correct instantaneous signal phase misalignment, efficiently gathering useful signal power and increasing positioning accuracy. Besides, inertial navigation systems (INSs) have been used as a well-complementary dead reckoning (DR) sensor for GNSS receivers in kinematic scenarios resisting various interferences since early. But little work focuses on the case of whether the INS can improve GNSS receivers in static scenarios. Thus, this paper proposes an enhanced navigation system deeply integrated with low-cost INS solutions and GNSS high-accuracy carrier-based positioning. First, an absolute code phase is predicted from base station information, and integrated solution of the INS DR and real-time kinematic (RTK) results through an extended Kalman filter (EKF). Then, a numerically controlled oscillator (NCO) leverages the predicted code phase to improve the alignment between instantaneous local code phases and received ones. The proposed algorithm is realized in a vector-tracking GNSS software-defined radio (SDR). Real-world experiments demonstrate the proposed SDR regarding estimating time-of-arrival (TOA) and positioning accuracy.
Accurate and smooth global navigation satellite system (GNSS) positioning for pedestrians in urban canyons is still a challenge due to the multipath effects and the non-light-of-sight (NLOS) receptions caused by the reflections from surrounding buildings. The recently developed factor graph optimization (FGO) based GNSS positioning method opened a new window for improving urban GNSS positioning by effectively exploiting the measurement redundancy from the historical information to resist the outlier measurements. Unfortunately, the FGO-based GNSS standalone positioning is still challenged in highly urbanized areas. As an extension of the previous FGO-based GNSS positioning method, this paper exploits the potential of the pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR) model in FGO to improve the GNSS standalone positioning performance in urban canyons. Specifically, the relative motion of the pedestrian is estimated based on the raw acceleration measurements from the onboard smartphone inertial measurement unit (IMU) via the PDR algorithm. Then the raw GNSS pseudorange, Doppler measurements, and relative motion from PDR are integrated using the FGO. Given the context of pedestrian navigation with a small acceleration most of the time, a novel soft motion model is proposed to smooth the states involved in the factor graph model. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified step-by-step through two datasets collected in dense urban canyons of Hong Kong using smartphone-level GNSS receivers. The comparison between the conventional extended Kalman filter, several existing methods, and FGO-based integration is presented. The results reveal that the existing FGO-based GNSS standalone positioning is highly complementary to the PDR's relative motion estimation. Both improved positioning accuracy and trajectory smoothness are obtained with the help of the proposed method.
GNSS and LiDAR odometry are complementary as they provide absolute and relative positioning, respectively. Their integration in a loosely-coupled manner is straightforward but is challenged in urban canyons due to the GNSS signal reflections. Recent proposed 3D LiDAR-aided (3DLA) GNSS methods employ the point cloud map to identify the non-line-of-sight (NLOS) reception of GNSS signals. This facilitates the GNSS receiver to obtain improved urban positioning but not achieve a sub-meter level. GNSS real-time kinematics (RTK) uses carrier phase measurements to obtain decimeter-level positioning. In urban areas, the GNSS RTK is not only challenged by multipath and NLOS-affected measurement but also suffers from signal blockage by the building. The latter will impose a challenge in solving the ambiguity within the carrier phase measurements. In the other words, the model observability of the ambiguity resolution (AR) is greatly decreased. This paper proposes to generate virtual satellite (VS) measurements using the selected LiDAR landmarks from the accumulated 3D point cloud maps (PCM). These LiDAR-PCM-made VS measurements are tightly-coupled with GNSS pseudorange and carrier phase measurements. Thus, the VS measurements can provide complementary constraints, meaning providing low-elevation-angle measurements in the across-street directions. The implementation is done using factor graph optimization to solve an accurate float solution of the ambiguity before it is fed into LAMBDA. The effectiveness of the proposed method has been validated by the evaluation conducted on our recently open-sourced challenging dataset, UrbanNav. The result shows the fix rate of the proposed 3DLA GNSS RTK is about 30% while the conventional GNSS-RTK only achieves about 14%. In addition, the proposed method achieves sub-meter positioning accuracy in most of the data collected in challenging urban areas.
Accurate and safety-quantifiable localization is of great significance for safety-critical autonomous systems, such as unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The visual odometry-based method can provide accurate positioning in a short period but is subjected to drift over time. Moreover, the quantification of the safety of the localization solution (the error is bounded by a certain value) is still a challenge. To fill the gaps, this paper proposes a safety-quantifiable line feature-based visual localization method with a prior map. The visual-inertial odometry provides a high-frequency local pose estimation which serves as the initial guess for the visual localization. By obtaining a visual line feature pair association, a foot point-based constraint is proposed to construct the cost function between the 2D lines extracted from the real-time image and the 3D lines extracted from the high-precision prior 3D point cloud map. Moreover, a global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM) inspired method is employed to quantify the safety of the derived localization solution. Among that, an outlier rejection (also well-known as fault detection and exclusion) strategy is employed via the weighted sum of squares residual with a Chi-squared probability distribution. A protection level (PL) scheme considering multiple outliers is derived and utilized to quantify the potential error bound of the localization solution in both position and rotation domains. The effectiveness of the proposed safety-quantifiable localization system is verified using the datasets collected in the UAV indoor and UGV outdoor environments.
Visual-Inertial Odometry (VIO) usually suffers from drifting over long-time runs, the accuracy is easily affected by dynamic objects. We propose DynaVIG, a navigation and object tracking system based on the integration of Monocular Vision, Inertial Navigation System (INS), and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Our system aims to provide an accurate global estimation of the navigation states and object poses for the automated ground vehicle (AGV) in dynamic scenes. Due to the scale ambiguity of the object, a prior height model is proposed to initialize the object pose, and the scale is continuously estimated with the aid of GNSS and INS. To precisely track the object with complex moving, we establish an accurate dynamics model according to its motion state. Then the multi-sensor observations are optimized in a unified framework. Experiments on the KITTI dataset demonstrate that the multisensor fusion can effectively improve the accuracy of navigation and object tracking, compared to state-of-the-art methods. In addition, the proposed system achieves good estimation of the objects that change speed or direction.
In this paper, we propose a 3D LiDAR aided global navigation satellite system (GNSS) non-line-of-sight (NLOS) mitigation method caused by both static buildings and dynamic objects. A sliding window map describing the surrounding of the ego-vehicle is first generated, based on real-time 3D point clouds from a 3D LiDAR sensor. Then, NLOS receptions are detected based on the sliding window map using a proposed fast searching method which is free of the initial guess of the position of the GNSS receiver. Instead of directly excluding the detected NLOS satellites from further positioning estimation, this paper rectifies the pseudorange measurement model by (1) correcting the pseudorange measurements if the reflecting point of NLOS signals is detected inside the sliding window map, and (2) remodeling the uncertainty of the NLOS pseudorange measurement using a novel weighting scheme. We evaluated the performance of the proposed method in several typical urban canyons in Hong Kong using an automobile-level GNSS receiver. Moreover, we also evaluate the potential of the proposed NLOS mitigation method in GNSS and inertial navigation systems integration via factor graph optimization.
This paper proposes an improved global navigation satellite system (GNSS) positioning method that explores the time correlation between consecutive epochs of the code and carrier phase measurements which significantly increases the robustness against outlier measurements. Instead of relying on the time difference carrier phase (TDCP) which only considers two neighboring epochs using an extended Kalman filter (EKF) estimator, this paper proposed to employ the carrier-phase measurements inside a window, the so-called window carrier-phase (WCP), to constrain the states inside a factor graph. A left null space matrix is employed to eliminate the shared unknown ambiguity variables and therefore, correlated the associated states inside the WCP. Then the pseudorange, Doppler, and the constructed WCP measurements are integrated simultaneously using factor graph optimization (FGO) to estimate the state of the GNSS receiver. We evaluated the performance of the proposed method in two typical urban canyons in Hong Kong, achieving the mean positioning error of 1.76 meters and 2.96 meters, respectively, using the automobile-level GNSS receiver. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of the proposed method is further evaluated using a low-cost smartphone level GNSS receiver and similar improvement is also obtained, compared with several existing GNSS positioning methods.
Accurate and globally referenced global navigation satellite system (GNSS) based vehicular positioning can be achieved in outlier-free open areas. However, the performance of GNSS can be significantly degraded by outlier measurements, such as multipath effects and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) receptions arising from signal reflections of buildings. Inspired by the advantage of batch historical data in resisting outlier measurements, in this paper, we propose a graduated non-convexity factor graph optimization (FGO-GNC) to improve the GNSS positioning performance, where the impact of GNSS outliers is mitigated by estimating the optimal weightings of GNSS measurements. Different from the existing local solutions, the proposed FGO-GNC employs the non-convex Geman McClure (GM) function to globally estimate the weightings of GNSS measurements via a coarse-to-fine relaxation. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified through several challenging datasets collected in urban canyons of Hong Kong using automobile level and low-cost smartphone level GNSS receivers.
Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) are one of the utterly popular sources for providing globally referenced positioning for autonomous systems. However, the performance of the GNSS positioning is significantly challenged in urban canyons, due to the signal reflection and blockage from buildings. Given the fact that the GNSS measurements are highly environmentally dependent and time-correlated, the conventional filtering-based method for GNSS positioning cannot simultaneously explore the time-correlation among historical measurements. As a result, the filtering-based estimator is sensitive to unexpected outlier measurements. In this paper, we present a factor graph-based formulation for GNSS positioning and real-time kinematic (RTK). The formulated factor graph framework effectively explores the time-correlation of pseudorange, carrier-phase, and doppler measurements, and leads to the non-minimal state estimation of the GNSS receiver. The feasibility of the proposed method is evaluated using datasets collected in challenging urban canyons of Hong Kong and significantly improved positioning accuracy is obtained, compared with the filtering-based estimator.
Robust and precise localization is essential for the autonomous system with navigation requirements. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) odometry is extensively studied in the past decades to achieve this goal. Satisfactory accuracy can be achieved in scenarios with abundant environmental features using existing LiDAR odometry (LO) algorithms. Unfortunately, the performance of the LiDAR odometry is significantly degraded in urban canyons with numerous dynamic objects and complex environmental structures. Meanwhile, it is still not clear from the existing literature which LO algorithms perform well in such challenging environments. To fill this gap, this paper evaluates an array of popular and extensively studied LO pipelines using the datasets collected in urban canyons of Hong Kong. We present the results in terms of their positioning accuracy and computational efficiency. Three major factors dominating the performance of LO in urban canyons are concluded, including the ego-vehicle dynamic, moving objects, and degree of urbanization. According to our experiment results, point-wise achieves better accuracy in urban canyons while feature-wise achieves cost-efficiency and satisfactory positioning accuracy.