A novel navigation system for obtaining high-precision globally-referenced position and attitude is presented and analyzed. The system is centered on a bundle-adjustment-based visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithm which incorporates carrier-phase differential GPS (CDGPS) position measurements into the bundle adjustment in addition to measurements of point features identified in a subset of the camera images, referred to as keyframes. To track the motion of the camera
in real-time, a navigation filter is employed which utilizes the point feature measurements from all non-keyframes, the point feature positions estimated by bundle adjustment, and inertial measurements. Simulations have shown that the system obtains centimeter-level or better absolute positioning accuracy and sub-degree-level absolute attitude accuracy in open outdoor areas. Moreover, the position and attitude solution only drifts slightly with the distance traveled when the system transitions to a GPS-denied environment (e.g., when the navigation system is carried indoors). A novel technique for initializing the globally-referenced bundle adjustment algorithm is also presented which solves the problem of relating the coordinate systems for position estimates based on two disparate sensors while accounting for the distance between the sensors. Simulation results are presented for the globally-referenced bundle adjustment algorithm which demonstrate its performance in the challenging scenario of walking through a hallway where GPS signals are unavailable.
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