Algorithms for map-aided autonomous indoor pedestrian positioning and navigation

The personal positioning and navigation became a very challenging topic in our dynamic time. The urban canyons and particularly indoors represent the most difficult areas for personal navigation problematic. Problems like disturbed satellite signals make the positioning impossible indoors. Recently developed systems for indoor positioning do not assure the necessary positioning accuracy or are very expensive. Our concept stands for a fully autonomous positioning and navigation process. That is, a method that does not rely on the reception of external information, like satellite or terrestrial signals. Therefore, this research is based on the use of inertial measurements of the human walk and the map database which contains the graphic representation of the elements of the building, created by applying the link-node model. Using this reduced set of information the task is to develop methodology, based on the interaction of the data from both sources, to assure reliable positioning and navigation process. This research is divided in three parts. The first part consists in the development of a methodology for initial localization of the person indoors. The problem to solve is to localize the person in the building. Consider a person equipped with a system which contains set of inertial sensors and map database of the building. Speed, turn rate and barometric altitude are measured and time-stamped on each step of the person. A pre-processing phase uses these raw measurements in order to construct a polyline, thus representing user's trajectory. In the localization approach central place takes the association of the user's trajectory with the graph representation of the building, process known as map-matching. The solution is based on statistical method where the determination of the user's position is entirely represented by its probability density function (PDF) in the frame of Bayesian inference. Initial localization determines the edge of the graph occupied by the person. The second part aims at continuous localization, where user's position is estimated on every step. Besides the application of the classical map-matching techniques, two new methods are developed. Both rely on the similarity of the geometry of the trajectory and the elements of the graph. The first is based on the Bayesian inference, where the estimation is computed considering the walked distance and azimuth. The second method represents a new application of the Fréchet distance as degree of similarity between two polylines. The third part is pointed at the pedestrian guidance. Once the user's position is known it is easy to compute the path to his destination and to give him directions. The problem is to assure continuance of the process of navigation in the case when the person has lost his path. In that case the solution consists in either giving instructions to the user to go back on the path or computation of a new path from the actual position of the user to his destination. Based on that methodology, algorithms for initial localization, continuous localization, and guidance were created. Numerous tests with the participation of several persons have been provided in order to validate the algorithms and to show their performance, robustness and limits.

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