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Sensors 2017, 17(4), 806;

Estimation of Antenna Pose in the Earth Frame Using Camera and IMU Data from Mobile Phones

College of Computer Science and Technology, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang 310000, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Leonhard M. Reindl
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 2 April 2017 / Published: 8 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sensor Networks)
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The poses of base station antennas play an important role in cellular network optimization. Existing methods of pose estimation are based on physical measurements performed either by tower climbers or using additional sensors attached to antennas. In this paper, we present a novel non-contact method of antenna pose measurement based on multi-view images of the antenna and inertial measurement unit (IMU) data captured by a mobile phone. Given a known 3D model of the antenna, we first estimate the antenna pose relative to the phone camera from the multi-view images and then employ the corresponding IMU data to transform the pose from the camera coordinate frame into the Earth coordinate frame. To enhance the resulting accuracy, we improve existing camera-IMU calibration models by introducing additional degrees of freedom between the IMU sensors and defining a new error metric based on both the downtilt and azimuth angles, instead of a unified rotational error metric, to refine the calibration. In comparison with existing camera-IMU calibration methods, our method achieves an improvement in azimuth accuracy of approximately 1.0 degree on average while maintaining the same level of downtilt accuracy. For the pose estimation in the camera coordinate frame, we propose an automatic method of initializing the optimization solver and generating bounding constraints on the resulting pose to achieve better accuracy. With this initialization, state-of-the-art visual pose estimation methods yield satisfactory results in more than 75% of cases when plugged into our pipeline, and our solution, which takes advantage of the constraints, achieves even lower estimation errors on the downtilt and azimuth angles, both on average (0.13 and 0.3 degrees lower, respectively) and in the worst case (0.15 and 7.3 degrees lower, respectively), according to an evaluation conducted on a dataset consisting of 65 groups of data. We show that both of our enhancements contribute to the performance improvement offered by the proposed estimation pipeline, which achieves downtilt and azimuth accuracies of respectively 0.47 and 5.6 degrees on average and 1.38 and 12.0 degrees in the worst case, thereby satisfying the accuracy requirements for network optimization in the telecommunication industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: pose estimation; sensor fusion; mobile phone pose estimation; sensor fusion; mobile phone

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, Z.; Jin, B.; Geng, W. Estimation of Antenna Pose in the Earth Frame Using Camera and IMU Data from Mobile Phones. Sensors 2017, 17, 806.

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