For a team of robots to work collaboratively, it is crucial that each robot have the ability to determine the position of their neighbors, relative to themselves, in order to execute tasks autonomously. This letter presents an algorithm for determining the three-dimensional relative position between two mobile robots, each using nothing more than a single ultra-wideband transceiver, an accelerometer, a rate gyro, and a magnetometer. A sliding window filter estimates the relative position at selected keypoints by combining the distance measurements with acceleration estimates, which each agent computes using an on-board attitude estimator. The algorithm is appropriate for real-time implementation, and has been tested in simulation and experiment, where it comfortably outperforms standard estimators. A positioning accuracy of less than 1 meter is achieved with inexpensive sensors.
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Photo courtesy of Charles C. Cossette (author), of McGill University.