Integration of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS) technologies can overcome the drawbacks of the individual systems. One of the advantages is that the integrated solution can provide continuous navigation capability even during GPS outages. However, bridging the GPS outages is still a challenge when Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) inertial sensors are used. Methods being currently explored by the research community include applying vehicle motion constraints, optimal smoother, and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. In the research area of AI, the neural network (NN) approach has been extensively utilised up to the present. In an NN-based integrated system, a Kalman filter (KF) estimates position, velocity and attitude errors, as well as the inertial sensor errors, to output navigation solutions while GPS signals are available. At the same time, an NN is trained to map the vehicle dynamics with corresponding KF states, and to correct INS measurements when GPS measurements are unavailable. To achieve good performance it is critical to select suitable quality and an optimal number of samples for the NN. This is sometimes too rigorous a requirement which limits real world application of NN-based methods.
The support vector machine (SVM) approach is based on the structural risk minimisation principle, instead of the minimised empirical error principle that is commonly implemented in an NN. The SVM can avoid local minimisation and over-fitting problems in an NN, and therefore potentially can achieve a higher level of global performance. This paper focuses on the least squares support vector machine (LS-SVM), which can solve highly nonlinear and noisy black-box modelling problems. This paper explores the application of the LS-SVM to aid the GPS/INS integrated system, especially during GPS outages. The paper describes the principles of the LS-SVM and of the KF hybrid method, and introduces the LS-SVM regression algorithm. Field test data is processed to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach.