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Automatic Magnetometer Calibration with Small Space Coverage
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The use of a standalone Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) has proved to be insufficient when navigating indoors or in urban canyons due to multipath or obstruction. Recent technological advances in low cost micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) – based sensors (like accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers) enabled the development of sensor-based navigation systems. Although MEMS sensors are low-cost, lightweight, small size, and have low-power consumption, they have complex error characteristics. Accurate computation of the heading angle (azimuth) is one of the most important aspects of any navigation system. It can be computed either by gyroscopes or magnetometers. Gyroscopes are inertial sensors that can provide the angular rate from which the heading can be calculated, however, their outputs drift with time. Moreover, the accumulated errors due to mathematical integration, performed to obtain the heading angle, lead to large heading errors. On the other hand, magnetometers do not suffer from drift and the calculation of heading does not suffer from error accumulation. They can provide an absolute heading from the magnetic north by sensing the earth’s magnetic field. However, magnetometer readings are usually affected by magnetic fields, other than the earth magnetic field, and by other error sources; therefore magnetometer calibration is required to use magnetometer as a reliable source of heading in navigation applications. In this thesis, a framework for fast magnetometer calibration is proposed. This framework requires little space coverage with no user involvement in the calibration process, and does not need specific movements to be performed. The proposed techniques are capable of performing both 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) calibration for magnetometers. They are developed to consider different scenarios suitable for different applications, and can benefit from natural device movements. Some applications involve tethering the magnetometers to the moving platform (like in cars and machinery applications). Other applications are related to portable navigation (smartphone navigation, whether for pedestrians or while driving). The developed framework was examined through experimental work to verify its performance and robustness.