Enhanced Fixed Wing UAV Navigation in Extended GNSS Outages using a Vehicle Dynamics Model and Raw GNSS Observables

Hery A. Mwenegoha, Terry Moore, James Pinchin, Mark Jabbal

Abstract: This paper presents the design and testing of an innovative approach to the navigation of fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) using a Vehicle Dynamic Model (VDM) based, tightly coupled INS/GNSS architecture. The investigation focuses on lowmass (sub 30 kg) and low cost (sub $12,000) applications. Using control inputs from the autopilot combined with knowledge of the vehicle dynamics, an error state extended kalman filter is used to fuse raw GNSS observables and Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) measurements to provide improved navigation performance in periods that would otherwise be classified as outages in a loosely coupled sense. IMU biases, wind velocity errors and VDM parameter errors are estimated in the filter alongside timing, position, velocity and orientation parameters. Monte Carlo simulations reveal a modest degrading performance with decreased number of satellites in view when using the VDM as opposed to rapid drift in a conventional INS/GNSS approach. A comparison to a typical VDM-based approach operating in a loosely coupled architecture is also made. The proposed VDM/INS/GNSS tightly coupled architecture has been found to offer improved navigation performance with more than 45% improvement in position error with 3 satellites in view as opposed to a loosely coupled VDM/INS/GNSS architecture during a GNSS outage. The estimation error in yaw is improved by 16% with the proposed architecture with 3 satellites as opposed to a VDM scheme operating in a loosely coupled architecture for an outage period lasting 140 seconds. The proposed model-based integration approach using raw GNSS observables is seen to offer improved navigation performance with minimal cost and weight penalty, this approach seems to be a promising method for low cost applications.
Published in: Proceedings of the 32nd International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2019)
September 16 - 20, 2019
Hyatt Regency Miami
Miami, Florida
Pages: 2552 - 2565
Cite this article: Mwenegoha, Hery A., Moore, Terry, Pinchin, James, Jabbal, Mark, "Enhanced Fixed Wing UAV Navigation in Extended GNSS Outages using a Vehicle Dynamics Model and Raw GNSS Observables," Proceedings of the 32nd International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2019), Miami, Florida, September 2019, pp. 2552-2565.
https://doi.org/10.33012/2019.17056
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