I am trying to estimate the orientation of a sensor platform using gyroscope and accelerometer. I am using a Kalman filter based approach. I integrate the readings from gyro to obtain the orientation about x, y and z axis. This is will act as the process model. I am planning to use accelerometer readings as observation. I know how to estimate the angles of orientation when the accelerometer is reading only gravity, by using acceleration components in x, y and z.

However, when the sensor platform is moving or accelerating (i.e. gravity is not the only acceleration the sensor is reading), can accelerometer provide orientation/ tilt estimation without the help of any other sensor? Can this approach work without using a third sensor when the sensor platform has high acceleration?


1 Answer 1


General movement is not a problem even at high velocity but, as you already described, acceleration is. There are a couple mitigating factors that allow many platforms to still (mostly) assume the accelerometer is a gravity measurement

  • Short bursts of acceleration can be filtered out (e.g. if $||a|| >> ||a_g||$ ignore the reading)
  • High frequency acceleration oscillations average out to zero over time. This just means you have to increase the measurement noise parameter of the filter
  • If you happen to know the maneuver acceleration you can simply adjust the accelerometer measurement accordingly. This case is rather unlikely though (there's a reason we need sensors in the first place)

When this is not the case, such as for a missile which has long periods of sustained non-gravity acceleration, you simply need a different sensor.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.