In the strap-down inertial navigation system (SINS), the initial attitude matrix is acquired through alignment. Though there were multiple valid methods, alignment time and accuracy are still core issues, especially regarding the condition of the motion carrier. Inspired by the idea of constructing nonlinear vectors by velocity in a different coordinate frame, this paper proposes an innovative alignment method for a vehicle-mounted SINS in motion. In this method, the core issue of acquiring the attitude matrix is to calculate the matrix between the inertial frame and the initial body frame, which can be constructed through the nonlinear velocity vectors’ information from the GPS and the odometer at different moments, which denominate the multi-vector attitude determination. The possibility of collinearity can easily be avoided by a turning movement. The characteristic of propagation of error is analyzed in detail, based on which an improved method is put forward to depress the effect of random noise. Compared with the existing alignment methods, this method does not use the measurement information of accelerometers. In order to demonstrate its performance, the method is compared with the two-position alignment method and the traditional two-stage alignment method. Simulation and vehicle-based experiment results show that the proposed alignment method can establish an attitude reference in 100 s with an azimuth error of less than 0.06°, and that the accuracy does not have a strong correlation with the accelerometer.
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