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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2672640, 15 pages
Research Article

Bayesian Train Localization with Particle Filter, Loosely Coupled GNSS, IMU, and a Track Map

DLR (German Aerospace Center), Institute of Communications and Navigation, 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

Received 23 October 2015; Revised 5 February 2016; Accepted 24 March 2016

Academic Editor: Yassine Ruichek

Copyright © 2016 Oliver Heirich. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Train localization is safety-critical and therefore the approach requires a continuous availability and a track-selective accuracy. A probabilistic approach is followed up in order to cope with multiple sensors, measurement errors, imprecise information, and hidden variables as the topological position within the track network. The nonlinear estimation of the train localization posterior is addressed with a novel Rao-Blackwellized particle filter (RBPF) approach. There, embedded Kalman filters estimate certain linear state variables while the particle distribution can cope with the nonlinear cases of parallel tracks and switch scenarios. The train localization algorithm is further based on a track map and measurements from a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver and an inertial measurement unit (IMU). The GNSS integration is loosely coupled and the IMU integration is achieved without the common strapdown approach and suitable for low-cost IMUs. The implementation is evaluated with real measurements from a regional train at regular passenger service over 230 km of tracks with 107 split switches and parallel track scenarios of 58.5 km. The approach is analyzed with labeled data by means of ground truth of the traveled switch way. Track selectivity results reach 99.3% over parallel track scenarios and 97.2% of correctly resolved switch ways.