Journal of Navigation

Research Article

Integrity Monitoring for Carrier Phase Ambiguities

Shaojun Fenga1 c1, Washington Ochienga1, Jaron Samsona2, Michel Tossainta2, Manuel Hernandez-Pajaresa3, J. Miguel Juana3, Jaume Sanza3, Àngela Aragón-Àngela3, Pere Ramos-Boscha3 and Marti Jofrea4

a1 Centre for Transport Studies, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering Imperial College London

a2 ESA (ESTEC/TEC-ETN), The Netherlands

a3 Research Group of Astronomy and Geomatics (gAGE), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona (Spain)

a4 CTAE - Aerospace Research & Technology Centre, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract

The determination of the correct integer number of carrier cycles (integer ambiguity) is the key to high accuracy positioning with carrier phase measurements from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). There are a number of current methods for resolving ambiguities including the Least-squares AMBiguity Decorrelation Adjustment (LAMBDA) method, which is a combination of least-squares and a transformation to reduce the search space. The current techniques to determine the level of confidence (integrity) of the resolved ambiguities (i.e. ambiguity validation), usually involve the construction of test statistics, characterisation of their distribution and definition of thresholds. Example tests applied include ratio, F-distribution, t-distribution and Chi-square distribution. However, the assumptions that underpin these tests have weaknesses. These include the application of a fixed threshold for all scenarios, and therefore, not always able to provide an acceptable integrity level in the computed ambiguities. A relatively recent technique referred to as Integer Aperture (IA) based on the ratio test with a large number of simulated samples of float ambiguities requires significant computational resources. This precludes the application of IA in real time.

This paper proposes and demonstrates the power of an integrity monitoring technique that is applied at the ambiguity resolution and positioning stages. The technique has the important benefit of facilitating early detection of any potential threat to the position solution, originating in the ambiguity space, while at the same time giving overall protection in the position domain based on the required navigation performance. The proposed method uses the conventional test statistic for ratio testing together with a doubly non-central F distribution to compute the level of confidence (integrity) of the ambiguities. Specifically, this is determined as a function of geometry and the ambiguity residuals from least squares based ambiguity resolution algorithms including LAMBDA. A numerical method is implemented to compute the level of confidence in real time.

The results for Precise Point Positioning (PPP) with simulated and real data demonstrate the power and efficiency of the proposed method in monitoring both the integrity of the ambiguity computation and position solution processes. Furthermore, due to the fact that the method only requires information from least squares based ambiguity resolution algorithms, it is easily transferable to conventional Real Time Kinematic (RTK) positioning.

KEY WORDS

  • GNSS;
  • PPP;
  • RNP;
  • CRAIM

Correspondence:

c1 (E-mail: s.feng@imperial.ac.uk)