IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, vol.70, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
© 1963-2012 IEEE.This article proposes two novel covariance-tuning methods to form a robust Kalman filter (RKF) algorithm for attitude (i.e., roll and pitch) estimation using the measurements of only an inertial measurement unit (IMU). KF-based and complementary filtering (CF)-based approaches are the two common methods for solving the attitude estimation problem. Efficiency and optimality of the KF-based attitude filters are correlated with appropriate tuning of the covariance matrices. Manual tuning process is a difficult and time-consuming task. Specifically, the IMU-only attitude estimation filters are prone to the external accelerations unless their covariances are adapted to gain robustness. The proposed algorithms provide an adaptive method for tuning the measurement noise covariance such that they can accurately estimate the attitude in the two axes. The first method relies on a single tuning factor, whereas the second one tunes the covariance with different (multiple) factors for each measurement axis. The proposed methodologies are tested and compared with other existing filtering algorithms in the literature under different dynamical conditions and using real-world experimental datasets in order to validate their effectiveness. Results show that highly dynamic scenarios, especially the multiple tuning factor strategy, can increase the attitude estimation accuracy more than two-times compared to the competitive algorithms.