Terrain-Based Localization using Particle Filter for Underwater Navigation

  • Kim, Jin-Whan (Division of Ocean Systems Engineering, KAIST) ;
  • Kim, Tae-Yun (Division of Ocean Systems Engineering, KAIST)
  • Received : 2010.03.02
  • Accepted : 2011.04.29
  • Published : 2011.06.01


Underwater localization is a crucial capability for reliable operation of various types of underwater vehicles including submarines and underwater robots. However, sea water is almost impermeable to high-frequency electromagnetic waves, and thus absolute position fixes from Global Positioning System (GPS) are not available in the water. The use of acoustic telemetry systems such as Long Baseline (LBL) is a practical option for underwater localization. However, this telemetry network system needs to be pre-deployed and its availability cannot always be assumed. This study focuses on demonstrating the validity of terrain-based localization techniques in a GPS-denied underwater environment. Since terrain-based localization leads to a nonlinear estimation problem, nonlinear filtering methods are required to be employed. The extended Kalman filter (EKF) which is a widely used nonlinear filtering algorithm often shows limited performance under large initial uncertainty. The feasibility of using a particle filter is investigated, which can improve the performance and reliability of the terrain-based localization.


Terrain-based localization;Underwater navigation;Particle filter;Extended Kalman filter


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