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Estimation of Quaternion Motion for GPS-Based Attitude Determination Using the Extended Kalman Filter

Dah-Jing Jwo*
Department of Communications, Navigation and Control Engineering, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, 202-24, Taiwan
* Corresponding Author: Dah-Jing Jwo. Email:

Computers, Materials & Continua 2021, 66(2), 2105-2126.

Received 08 September 2020; Accepted 30 September 2020; Issue published 26 November 2020


In this paper, the Global Positioning System (GPS) interferometer provides the preliminarily computed quaternions, which are then employed as the measurement of the extended Kalman filter (EKF) for the attitude determination system. The estimated quaternion elements from the EKF output with noticeably improved precision can be converted to the Euler angles for navigation applications. The aim of the study is twofold. Firstly, the GPS-based computed quaternion vector is utilized to avoid the singularity problem. Secondly, the quaternion estimator based on the EKF is adopted to improve the estimation accuracy. Determination of the unknown baseline vector between the antennas sits at the heart of GPS-based attitude determination. Although utilization of the carrier phase observables enables the relative positioning to achieve centimeter level accuracy, however, the quaternion elements derived from the GPS interferometer are inherently noisy. This is due to the fact that the baseline vectors estimated by the least-squares method are based on the raw double-differenced measurements. Construction of the transformation matrix is accessible according to the estimate of baseline vectors and thereafter the computed quaternion elements can be derived. Using the Euler angle method, the process becomes meaningless when the angles are at 90° where the singularity problem occurs. A good alternative is the quaternion approach, which possesses advantages over the equivalent Euler angle based transformation since they apply to all attitudes. Simulation results on the attitude estimation performance based on the proposed method will be presented and compared to the conventional method. The results presented in this paper elucidate the superiority of proposed algorithm.


Global positioning system (GPS); quaternion; extended Kalman filter; attitude determination

Cite This Article

D. Jwo, . and . , "Estimation of quaternion motion for gps-based attitude determination using the extended kalman filter," Computers, Materials & Continua, vol. 66, no.2, pp. 2105–2126, 2021.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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