Comparison of attitude determination methodologies for implementation with 9DOF, low cost inertial measurement unit for autonomous aerial vehicles

Man Ho Choi, Robert Porter, Bijan Shirinzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The performances of three attitude determination algorithms are compared in this paper. The three methods are the Complementary Filter, a Quaternion-based Kalman Filter and a Quaternion-based Gradient Descent Algorithm. An analysis of their performance based on an experimental investigation was undertaken. This paper shows that the Complementary Filter requires the least computational power; Quaternion-based Kalman Filter has the best noise filtering ability; and the Quaternion-based Gradient Descent Algorithm produced estimates with the highest accuracy. As many attitude determination methodologies make use of the quaternion rotation representation, the attitude quaternion to Euler angle singularity property has been investigated. Experiments conducted show that when Y-rotation approach the singularity position (±90°), the X-rotation drifts away from the reference input. This paper proposes the use of an imaginary set of sensor measurements to replace the original sensor measurements as the Y-rotation approaches the singularity. The proposed methodology for overcoming the conversion singularity has been experimentally verified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Intelligent Mechatronics and Robotics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Attitude determination
  • Autonomous aerial vehicles
  • Inertial measurement unit
  • Low cost
  • Micro electrical mechanical system

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