Navigation of Ground Vehicles Using Magnetic Field Variations

J. A. Shockley, J. F. Raquet

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Inexpensive three-axis magnetometers can sense not just heading, but also variations in Earth’s magnetic field. Combined with a magnetic field map, this information can be used for positioning. Pairing the three-axis magnetometer measurements with position information from a ground vehicle creates a magnetic field map containing the variation and localized perturbations in Earth’s magnetic field as a function of position. A magnetometer and the magnetic field map can then be used for navigation. This paper describes how magnetometer measurements can be used to calculate a position update using three different likelihood functions, and it also demonstrates direct incorporation of magnetic field measurements into a map-matching particle filter. These algorithms were tested in three different vehicles under a variety of road conditions and demonstrated meter-level positioning when local magnetic field features are available. Overall the information is sufficient for road level navigation when used as the sole source of navigation information.
Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 61, Number 4
Pages: 237 - 252
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