A Closed-form solution to bearings-only target motion analysis

April 23, 2019 | Categories: Publications


Bearings-only target motion analysis is a nonlinear state estimation problem in which the noise corrupted angle of arrival measurements of an emitted signal are used to obtain estimates of the source’s range, bearing, course, and speed. The estimation process is complicated by unusual observability properties that render the quality of the estimate highly dependent on both the measurement noise levels and the source-observer geometry. Solutions that use recursive Kalman filtering approach or batch-style algorithms have been reported. The nonlinear batch style estimators for this process require iterative solution methods and under certain scenarios can be sensitive to initial conditions. Pseudolinear solutions that alleviate some of the difficulties with the iterative batch algorithms have been proposed. Although early versions of the pseudolinear filter suffered from biased estimates, subsequent improvements appear to have reduced the bias problem. This paper discusses a new pseudolinear solution based on the observable parameters from individual data segments defined by periods of constant observer velocity (termed “legs”). This solution is a true closed-form solution to the bearings-only target motion analysis problem. Although theoretically interesting, the technique does suffer under conditions of poor observability. A practical pseudolinear estimate, that does not suffer from the same observability problems, is developed and related to the first solution. Algorithm performance results, obtained from computer simulation, are presented. For the scenarios examined, the technique provides good state estimates under conditions of high observability. As observability conditions deteriorate, the solution does develop biases. However, it may still be useful for initializing an iterative nonlinear batch-style estimation algorithm.


S. Nardone, M. Graham, A Closed-form solution to bearings-only target motion analysis, IEEE Trans. Oceanic Engineering, Vol 22., No. 1, 1997.