Using the Bingham distribution of probability, which is defined on a d-dimensional sphere to be antipodally symmetric, to address the problem of angle periodicity in [0,2pi] when estimating orientation in a recursive filter

Gilitschenski, I.; Kurz, G.; Julier, S.J.; Hanebeck, U.D., Unscented Orientation Estimation Based on the Bingham Distribution, in Automatic Control, IEEE Transactions on , vol.61, no.1, pp.172-177, Jan. 2016, DOI: 10.1109/TAC.2015.2423831.

In this work, we develop a recursive filter to estimate orientation in 3D, represented by quaternions, using directional distributions. Many closed-form orientation estimation algorithms are based on traditional nonlinear filtering techniques, such as the extended Kalman filter (EKF) or the unscented Kalman filter (UKF). These approaches assume the uncertainties in the system state and measurements to be Gaussian-distributed. However, Gaussians cannot account for the periodic nature of the manifold of orientations and thus small angular errors have to be assumed and ad hoc fixes must be used. In this work, we develop computationally efficient recursive estimators that use the Bingham distribution. This distribution is defined on the hypersphere and is inherently more suitable for periodic problems. As a result, these algorithms are able to consistently estimate orientation even in the presence of large angular errors. Furthermore, handling of nontrivial system functions is performed using an entirely deterministic method which avoids any random sampling. A scheme reminiscent of the UKF is proposed for the nonlinear manifold of orientations. It is the first deterministic sampling scheme that truly reflects the nonlinear manifold of orientations.

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