- Open Access
Pedestrian dead reckoning for MARG navigation using a smartphone
© Tian et al.; licensee Springer. 2014
- Received: 7 January 2014
- Accepted: 23 April 2014
- Published: 10 May 2014
The demand for navigating pedestrian by using a hand-held mobile device increased remarkably over the past few years, especially in GPS-denied scenario. We propose a new pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR)-based navigation algorithm by using magnetic, angular rate, and gravity (MARG) sensors which are equipped in existing commercial smartphone. Our proposed navigation algorithm consists of step detection, stride length estimation, and heading estimation. To eliminate the gauge step errors of the random bouncing motions, we designed a reliable algorithm for step detection. We developed a BP neural network-based stride length estimation algorithm to apply to different users. In response to the challenge of magnetic disturbance, a quaternion-based extended Kalman filter (EKF) is introduced to determine the user's heading direction for each step. The performance of our proposed pedestrian navigation algorithm is verified by using a smartphone in providing accurate, reliable, and continuous location tracking services.
- Pedestrian navigation
- Dead reckoning
- MARG sensors
A large number of navigation systems, such as GPS, can only be applied to the outdoor and open sky scenarios since the microwaves are easily blocked by the buildings and ground. To solve this problem, the multi-MEMS inertial sensor-based navigation systems are more favored in recent 5 years [1, 2]. Inertial sensors are independent of the external information, involve no radiation energy to the environment, and require no external reference frame. On this basis, it can be recognized as an autonomous navigation system providing location, heading, and attitude angle [3, 4]. The navigation information obtained from the inertial system is featured with continuity, high data-updating rate, good short-term accuracy, and stability. The magnetic, angular rate, and gravity (MARG) sensors involved in MEMS technology have been widely used in smartphones for pedestrian inertial navigation and are expected to become one of the key components of a variety of localization and tracking systems [5, 6].
As far as we know, the pedestrian inertial navigation systems are normally based on pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR) algorithm which is independent of the integration of acceleration values. Based on the physiological characteristics of pedestrian movement, we can use the cyclical characteristics and statistics of acceleration waveform and features which are associated with the walking speed to estimate the stride length. Moreover, the heading is obtained from the integration of gyroscope or from the combination of magnetometer and accelerometer. Due to the randomness of pedestrian hand-held way, the attitude angle of a smartphone cannot be constant. Hence, the accuracy of heading can be guaranteed only after the real-time attitude angle has been calculated. Therefore, the way to obtain an accurate attitude angle solution in different environmental conditions without the external absolute reference signals forms one of the significant challenges to be concerned [7, 8].
There are two categories of algorithms for attitude angle updating by using the angular rate of gyroscope: the Euler angle algorithm and the quaternion algorithm. The Euler angle algorithm relies on the Euler angle differential equations to calculate the yaw, pitch, and roll angles. Since the pitch angle in Euler angles can result to degenerations, the yaw and roll angles cannot be determined uniquely when the pitch angle is close to 90°. The quaternion algorithm avoids the singularity problem involved in Euler angles by solving four linear differential equations. On this basis, the quaternion algorithm is featured with simple computation cost and is easy to be operated for a wide application. In quaternion algorithm, since the gyroscope is suffered by the accumulated measurement errors, it is not effective to measure the angles over a long period of time. To obtain a stable and reliable attitude angle, the gyroscope should be integrated with accelerometer and magnetometer. To this end, the complementary filter, Kalman filter, and gradient descent algorithm are widely used to conduct data fusion. The work in  proposed the quaternion-based gradient descent algorithm to merge the measured absolute angle and angular velocity and then obtain three degrees of freedom (DOF) for attitude measurement. The algorithm in  is simple and is easy to be implemented, but the related accuracy performance is not good. The quaternion-based extended Kalman filter (EKF) algorithm in  is recognized to be more accurate, but more system state vectors and higher computation cost are required, which is not appropriate for the real-time processing on a smartphone platform. There is significant accuracy deterioration by using the aforementioned conventional algorithms when a large linear acceleration occurs or the magnetometer is seriously interfered by the surrounding noise, such as the blocking by iron products. To solve this problem, this paper shows a new pedestrian dead reckoning-based MARG navigation algorithm, which is highly accurate and is easy to be implemented on smartphones.
This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 gives the system framework. Section 3 presents the algorithms for step detection and stride length estimation. The heading estimation algorithm is discussed in Section 4. Section 5 shows some testing results and the related discussion. Finally, we conclude this paper in Section 6.
4.1 Gyroscope attitude estimation
4.2 Extended Kalman filter design
where ||a k || and ||m k || are the modulus values of accelerometer and magnetometer. ki 1 and ki 2 are the weighting factors. var(ik − N/2: ik + N/2) (i = a, m) is the variance of modulus values in the sliding window with the size of N. When the smartphone has a large linear acceleration or is suffered by the external magnetic interference, both modulus value and variance of accelerometer and magnetometer are increased. In this case, to reduce the influence of the linear acceleration and the external magnetic interference, we distribute large values to the observation variance, and , to guarantee that the filtering process is determined by the output of gyroscope.
4. 3 Heading correction
During the walking, the smartphone is suffered by not only the upward and forward movement, but also the swings. From the curve of heading angles obtained by EKF, we can find that the smartphone swings severely. To reduce the impact of swing on heading estimation, we use the second-order Butterworth digital low-pass filter to conduct heading correction.
5.1 Step detection and stride length estimation
Results of stride length estimation
Reference SL in average (m)
Estimated SL in average (m)
Standard deviation (m)
5.2 Heading estimation
5.3 Trace tracking
Reference distance (m)
Trajectory distance (m)
Tracking error (m)
This paper presents a new pedestrian navigation algorithm based on the MARG sensors equipped in Huawei smartphone. The testing results on the smartphone platform show that the accurate, reliable, and continuous localization and tracking can be provided. Our proposed algorithm can be applicable to many other types of smartphones and also provide an important guidance to the design of the integrated Wi-Fi and MEMS navigation systems [18–20]. Furthermore, the optimization of heading estimation algorithm forms another interesting work in future.
This work was supported in part by the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT1299), National Natural Science Foundation of China (61301126), Special Fund of Chongqing Key Laboratory (CSTC), Fundamental and Frontier Research Project of Chongqing (cstc2013jcyjA40032, cstc2013jcyjA40034, cstc2013jcyjA40041), Scientific and Technological Research Program of Chongqing Municipal Education Commission (KJ130528), Startup Foundation for Doctors of CQUPT (A2012-33), Science Foundation for Young Scientists of CQUPT (A2012-77), Natural Science Foundation Project of CQ CSTC(CSTC2012jjB40009), and the Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Devices and Systems of Ministry of Education and Guangdong Province.
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