Analytical expression for uncertainty propagation of aerial cooperative navigation
In this paper, the propagation of uncertainty in a cooperative navigation algorithm (CNA) for a group of flying robots (FRs) is investigated. Each FR is equipped with an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and range-bearing sensors to measure the relative distance and bearing angles between the agents. In this regard, an extended Kalman filter (EKF) is implemented to estimate the position and rotation angles of all the agents. For further studies, a relaxed analytical performance index through a closed-form solution is derived. Moreover, the effects of the sensors noise covariance and the number of FRs on the growth rate of the position error covariance is investigated. Analytically, it is shown that the covariance of position error in the vehicles equipped with the IMU is proportional to the cube of time. However, the growth rate of the navigation error is, considerably more rapid compared to a mobile robot group. Furthermore, the covariance of position error is independent of the path and noise resulting from the relative position measurements. Further, it merely depends on both the size of the group and noise characteristics of the accelerometers. Lastly, the analytical results are validated through comprehensive Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) in-the-loop simulations.
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