Kalman filter
The Kalman filter is an efficient recursive filter that estimates the state of a dynamic system from a series of incomplete and noisy measurements. Together with the linearquadratic regulator (LQR) the Kalman filter solves the linearquadraticGaussian control problem (LQG). The Kalman filter, the linearquadratic regulator and the linearquadraticGaussian controller are solutions to what probably are the most fundamental problems in control theory.
Example applications
An example application would be providing accurate continuouslyupdated information about the position and velocity of an object given only a sequence of observations about its position, each of which includes some error. It is used in a wide range of engineering applications from radar to computer vision. Kalman filtering is an important topic in control theory and control systems engineering.
For example, in a radar application, where one is interested in tracking a target, information about the location, speed, and acceleration of the target is measured with a great deal of corruption by noise at any time instant. The Kalman filter exploits the dynamics of the target, which govern its time evolution, to remove the effects of the noise and get a good estimate of the location of the target at the present time (filtering), at a future time (prediction), or at a time in the past (interpolation or smoothing). A simplified version of a Kalman filter is the alpha beta filter, still commonly used, which has static weighting constants instead of using covariance matrices.
Naming and historical development
The filter is named after Rudolf E. Kalman, though Thorvald Nicolai Thiele^{[1]} and Peter Swerling actually developed a similar algorithm earlier. Stanley F. Schmidt is generally credited with developing the first implementation of a Kalman filter. It was during a visit of Kalman to the NASA Ames Research Center that he saw the applicability of his ideas to the problem of trajectory estimation for the Apollo program, leading to its incorporation in the Apollo navigation computer. The filter was developed in papers by Swerling (1958), Kalman (1960), and Kalman and Bucy (1961).
The filter is sometimes called StratonovichKalmanBucy filter due to the fact that it is a special case of a more general, nonlinear filter developed earlier by Ruslan L. Stratonovich^{[2]} ^{[3]}. In fact, equations of the special case, linear filter appeared in these papers by Stratonovich that were published before summer 1960, when Kalman met with Stratonovich during a conference in Moscow.
In control theory, the Kalman filter is most commonly referred to as linear quadratic estimation (LQE).
A wide variety of Kalman filters have now been developed, from Kalman's original formulation, now called the simple Kalman filter, to Schmidt's extended filter, the information filter and a variety of squareroot filters developed by Bierman, Thornton and many others. Perhaps the most commonly used type of Kalman filter is the phaselocked loop now ubiquitous in radios, computers, and nearly any other type of video or communications equipment.
Underlying dynamic system model
Kalman filters are based on linear dynamical systems discretised in the time domain. They are modelled on a Markov chain built on linear operators perturbed by Gaussian noise. The state of the system is represented as a vector of real numbers. At each discrete time increment, a linear operator is applied to the state to generate the new state, with some noise mixed in, and optionally some information from the controls on the system if they are known. Then, another linear operator mixed with more noise generates the visible outputs from the hidden state. The Kalman filter may be regarded as analogous to the hidden Markov model, with the key difference that the hidden state variables take values in a continuous space (as opposed to a discrete state space as in the hidden Markov model). Additionally, the hidden Markov model can represent an arbitrary distribution for the next value of the state variables, in contrast to the Gaussian noise model that is used for the Kalman filter. There is a strong duality between the equations of the Kalman Filter and those of the hidden Markov model. A review of this and other models is given in Roweis and Ghahramani (1999)^{[4]}.
In order to use the Kalman filter to estimate the internal state of a process given only a sequence of noisy observations, one must model the process in accordance with the framework of the Kalman filter. This means specifying the matrices F_{k}, H_{k}, Q_{k}, R_{k}, and sometimes B_{k} for each timestep k as described below.
The Kalman filter model assumes the true state at time k is evolved from the state at (k − 1) according to
where
 F_{k} is the state transition model which is applied to the previous state x_{k−1};
 B_{k} is the controlinput model which is applied to the control vector u_{k};
 w_{k} is the process noise which is assumed to be drawn from a zero mean multivariate normal distribution with covariance Q_{k}.
At time k an observation (or measurement) z_{k} of the true state x_{k} is made according to
where H_{k} is the observation model which maps the true state space into the observed space and v_{k} is the observation noise which is assumed to be zero mean Gaussian white noise with covariance R_{k}.
The initial state, and the noise vectors at each step {x_{0}, w_{1}, ..., w_{k}, v_{1} ... v_{k}} are all assumed to be mutually independent.
Many real dynamical systems do not exactly fit this model; however, because the Kalman filter is designed to operate in the presence of noise, an approximate fit is often good enough for the filter to be very useful. Variations on the Kalman filter described below allow richer and more sophisticated models.
The Kalman filter
The Kalman filter is a recursive estimator. This means that only the estimated state from the previous time step and the current measurement are needed to compute the estimate for the current state. In contrast to batch estimation techniques, no history of observations and/or estimates is required. It is unusual in being purely a time domain filter; most filters (for example, a lowpass filter) are formulated in the frequency domain and then transformed back to the time domain for implementation. In what follows, the notation represents the estimate of at time n given observations up to, and including time m.
The state of the filter is represented by two variables:
 , the estimate of the state at time k;
 , the error covariance matrix (a measure of the estimated accuracy of the state estimate).
The Kalman filter has two distinct phases: Predict and Update. The predict phase uses the state estimate from the previous timestep to produce an estimate of the state at the current timestep. In the update phase, measurement information at the current timestep is used to refine this prediction to arrive at a new, (hopefully) more accurate state estimate, again for the current timestep.
Predict
Predicted state 

Predicted estimate covariance 

Update
Innovation or measurement residual 

Innovation (or residual) covariance 

Optimal Kalman gain  
Updated state estimate  
Updated estimate covariance 
The formula for the updated estimate covariance above is only valid for the optimal Kalman gain. Usage of other gain values require a more complex formula found in the derivations section.
Invariants
If the model is accurate, and the values for and accurately reflect the distribution of the initial state values, then the following invariants are preserved: all estimates have mean error zero
where is the expected value of , and covariance matrices accurately reflect the covariance of estimates
Example
Consider a truck on perfectly frictionless, infinitely long straight rails. Initially the truck is stationary at position 0, but it is buffeted this way and that by random acceleration. We measure the position of the truck every Δt seconds, but these measurements are imprecise; we want to maintain a model of where the truck is and what its velocity is. We show here how we derive the model from which we create our Kalman filter.
There are no controls on the truck, so we ignore B_{k} and u_{k}. Since F, H, R and Q are constant, their time indices are dropped.
The position and velocity of the truck is described by the linear state space
where is the velocity, that is, the derivative of position with respect to time.
We assume that between the (k − 1)^{th} and k^{th} timestep the truck undergoes a constant acceleration of a_{k} that is normally distributed, with mean 0 and standard deviation σ_{a}. From Newton's laws of motion we conclude that
where
and
We find that
 (since σ_{a} is a scalar).
At each time step, a noisy measurement of the true position of the truck is made. Let us suppose the noise is also normally distributed, with mean 0 and standard deviation σ_{z}.
where
and
We know the initial starting state of the truck with perfect precision, so we initialize
and to tell the filter that we know the exact position, we give it a zero covariance matrix:
If the initial position and velocity are not known perfectly the covariance matrix should be initialized with a suitably large number, say B, on its diagonal.
The filter will then prefer the information from the first measurements over the information already in the model.
Derivations
Deriving the posterior estimate covariance matrix
Starting with our invariant on the error covariance P_{kk} as above
substitute in the definition of
and substitute
and
and by collecting the error vectors we get
Since the measurement error v_{k} is uncorrelated with the other terms, this becomes
by the properties of vector covariance this becomes
which, using our invariant on P_{kk1} and the definition of R_{k} becomes
This formula (sometimes known as the "Joseph form" of the covariance update equation) is valid no matter what the value of K_{k}. It turns out that if K_{k} is the optimal Kalman gain, this can be simplified further as shown below.
Kalman gain derivation
The Kalman filter is a minimum meansquare error estimator. The error in the posterior state estimation is
We seek to minimize the expected value of the square of the magnitude of this vector, . This is equivalent to minimizing the trace of the posterior estimate covariance matrix P_{kk}. By expanding out the terms in the equation above and collecting, we get:
The trace is minimized when the matrix derivative is zero:
Solving this for K_{k} yields the Kalman gain:
This gain, which is known as the optimal Kalman gain, is the one that yields MMSE estimates when used.
Simplification of the posterior error covariance formula
The formula used to calculate the posterior error covariance can be simplified when the Kalman gain equals the optimal value derived above. Multiplying both sides of our Kalman gain formula on the right by S_{k}K_{k}^{T}, it follows that
Referring back to our expanded formula for the posterior error covariance,
we find the last two terms cancel out, giving
This formula is computationally cheaper and thus nearly always used in practice, but is only correct for the optimal gain. If arithmetic precision is unusually low causing problems with numerical stability, or if a nonoptimal Kalman gain is deliberately used, this simplification cannot be applied; the posterior error covariance formula as derived above must be used.
Relationship to the digital filter
The Kalman filter can be regarded as an adaptive lowpass infinite impulse response digital filter, with cutoff frequency depending on the ratio between the process and measurement (or observation) noise, as well as the estimate covariance. Frequency response is, however, rarely of interest when designing state estimators such as the Kalman Filter, whereas for digital filters such as IIR and FIR filters, frequency response is usually of primary concern. For the Kalman Filter, the important goal is how accurate the filter is, and this is most often decided based on empirical Monte Carlo simulations, where "truth" (the true state) is known.
Relationship to recursive Bayesian estimation
The true state is assumed to be an unobserved Markov process, and the measurements are the observed states of a hidden Markov model.
Because of the Markov assumption, the true state is conditionally independent of all earlier states given the immediately previous state.
Similarly the measurement at the kth timestep is dependent only upon the current state and is conditionally independent of all other states given the current state.
Using these assumptions the probability distribution over all states of the hidden Markov model can be written simply as:
However, when the Kalman filter is used to estimate the state x, the probability distribution of interest is that associated with the current states conditioned on the measurements up to the current timestep. (This is achieved by marginalizing out the previous states and dividing by the probability of the measurement set.)
This leads to the predict and update steps of the Kalman filter written probabilistically. The probability distribution associated with the predicted state is product of the probability distribution associated with the transition from the (k − 1)th timestep to the kth and the probability distribution associated with the previous state, with the true state at (k − 1) integrated out.
The measurement set up to time t is
The probability distribution of the update is proportional to the product of the measurement likelihood and the predicted state.
The denominator
is a normalization term.
The remaining probability density functions are
Note that the PDF at the previous timestep is inductively assumed to be the estimated state and covariance. This is justified because, as an optimal estimator, the Kalman filter makes best use of the measurements, therefore the PDF for given the measurements is the Kalman filter estimate.
Information filter
In the information filter, or inverse covariance filter, the estimated covariance and estimated state are replaced by the information matrix and information vector respectively. These are defined as:
Similarly the predicted covariance and state have equivalent information forms, defined as:
as have the measurement covariance and measurement vector, which are defined as:
The information update now becomes a trivial sum.
The main advantage of the information filter is that N measurements can be filtered at each timestep simply by summing their information matrices and vectors.
To predict the information filter the information matrix and vector can be converted back to their state space equivalents, or alternatively the information space prediction can be used.
Note that if F and Q are time invariant these values can be cached. Note also that F and Q need to be invertible.
Nonlinear filters
The basic Kalman filter is limited to a linear assumption. However, most nontrivial systems are nonlinear. The nonlinearity can be associated either with the process model or with the observation model or with both.
Extended Kalman filter
In the extended Kalman filter, (EKF) the state transition and observation models need not be linear functions of the state but may instead be (differentiable) functions.
The function f can be used to compute the predicted state from the previous estimate and similarly the function h can be used to compute the predicted measurement from the predicted state. However, f and h cannot be applied to the covariance directly. Instead a matrix of partial derivatives (the Jacobian) is computed.
At each timestep the Jacobian is evaluated with current predicted states. These matrices can be used in the Kalman filter equations. This process essentially linearizes the nonlinear function around the current estimate.
This results in the following extended Kalman filter equations:
Predict
Update
where the state transition and observation matrices are defined to be the following Jacobians
Criticism of the extended Kalman filter
Unlike its linear counterpart, the extended Kalman filter is not an optimal estimator. In addition, if the initial estimate of the state is wrong, or if the process is modeled incorrectly, the filter may quickly diverge, owing to its linearization. Another problem with the extended Kalman filter is that the estimated covariance matrix tends to underestimate the true covariance matrix and therefore risks becoming inconsistent in the statistical sense without the addition of "stabilising noise".
Having stated this, the extended Kalman filter can give reasonable performance, and is arguably the de facto standard in navigation systems and GPS.
Unscented Kalman filter
When the state transition and observation models – that is, the predict and update functions and (see above) – are highly nonlinear, the extended Kalman filter can give particularly poor performance [JU97]. This is because only the mean is propagated through the nonlinearity. The unscented Kalman filter (UKF) [JU97] uses a deterministic sampling technique known as the unscented transform to pick a minimal set of sample points (called sigma points) around the mean. These sigma points are then propagated through the nonlinear functions and the covariance of the estimate is then recovered. The result is a filter which more accurately captures the true mean and covariance. (This can be verified using Monte Carlo sampling or through a Taylor series expansion of the posterior statistics.) In addition, this technique removes the requirement to analytically calculate Jacobians, which for complex functions can be a difficult task in itself.
Predict
As with the EKF, the UKF prediction can be used independently from the UKF update, in combination with a linear (or indeed EKF) update, or vice versa.
The estimated state and covariance are augmented with the mean and covariance of the process noise.
A set of 2L+1 sigma points is derived from the augmented state and covariance where L is the dimension of the augmented state.
where
is the ith column of the matrix square root of
using the definition: square root A of matrix B satisfies
.
The matrix square root should be calculated using numerically efficient and stable methods such as the Cholesky decomposition.
The sigma points are propagated through the transition function f.
The weighted sigma points are recombined to produce the predicted state and covariance.
where the weights for the state and covariance are given by:
Typical values for , , and are , 2 and 0 respectively. (These values should suffice for most purposes.)
Update
The predicted state and covariance are augmented as before, except now with the mean and covariance of the measurement noise.
As before, a set of 2L + 1 sigma points is derived from the augmented state and covariance where L is the dimension of the augmented state.
Alternatively if the UKF prediction has been used the sigma points themselves can be augmented along the following lines
where
The sigma points are projected through the observation function h.
The weighted sigma points are recombined to produce the predicted measurement and predicted measurement covariance.
The statemeasurement crosscovariance matrix,
is used to compute the UKF Kalman gain.
As with the Kalman filter, the updated state is the predicted state plus the innovation weighted by the Kalman gain,
And the updated covariance is the predicted covariance, minus the predicted measurement covariance, weighted by the Kalman gain.
KalmanBucy filter
The KalmanBucy filter is a continuous time version of the Kalman filter.^{[5]} ^{[6]}
It is based on the state space model
where the covariances of the noise terms and are given by and , respectively.
The filter consists of two differential equations, one for the state estimate and one for the covariance:
where the Kalman gain is given by
Note that in this expression for the covariance of the observation noise represents at the same time the covariance of the prediction error (or innovation) ; these covariances are equal only in the case of continuous time.^{[7]}
The distinction between the prediction and update steps of discretetime Kalman filtering does not exist in continuous time.
The second differential equation, for the covariance, is an example of a Riccati equation.
Applications
 Batteries State of Charge(SoC) Estimation [1][2]
 Autopilot
 Dynamic positioning
 Economics, in particular macroeconomics, time series, and econometrics
 Inertial guidance system
 Radar tracker
 Satellite navigation systems
 Simultaneous localization and mapping
 Chaotic signals
 Weather forecasting
 Speech enhancement
See also
 Ensemble Kalman filter
 Fast Kalman filter
 Compare with: Wiener filter, and the multimodal Particle filter estimator.
 Nonlinear filter
 Predictor corrector
 Separation principle
 Zakai equation
 Recursive least squares
 Data assimilation
 Stochastic differential equations
 Filtering problem (stochastic processes)
 Volterra series
References
General
 Gelb, A. (1974). Applied Optimal Estimation. MIT Press.
 Kalman, R.E. (1960). "A new approach to linear filtering and prediction problems" (PDF). Journal of Basic Engineering. 82 (1): 35–45. Retrieved 20080503.
 Kalman, R.E. (1961). "New Results in Linear Filtering and Prediction Theory". Retrieved 20080503. Unknown parameter
coauthors=
ignored (help)
 Julier, S.J. (1997). "A new extension of the Kalman filter to nonlinear systems" (PDF). Int. Symp. Aerospace/Defense Sensing, Simul. and Controls. 3. Retrieved 20080503. Unknown parameter
coauthors=
ignored (help)
 Harvey, A.C. (1990). Forecasting, Structural Time Series Models and the Kalman Filter. Cambridge University Press.
 Roweis, S. (1999). "A Unifying Review of Linear Gaussian Models". Neural Computation. 11 (2): 305–345. doi:10.1162/089976699300016674. Unknown parameter
coauthors=
ignored (help)
 Simon, D. (2006). Optimal State Estimation: Kalman, H Infinity, and Nonlinear Approaches. WileyInterscience.
 Stengel, R.F. (1994). Optimal Control and Estimation. Courier Dover Publications.
 Warwick, K. (1987). "Optimal observers for ARMA models" (PDF). International Journal of Control. 46 (5): 1493–1503. doi:10.1080/00207178708933989. Retrieved 20080503.
 Bierman, G.J. (1977). "Factorization Methods for Discrete Sequential Estimation". Mathematics in Science and Engineering. 128.
 Bozic, S.M. (1994). Digital and Kalman filtering. ButterworthHeinemann.
Notes
 ↑ Steffen L. Lauritzen, Thiele: Pioneer in Statistics, Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0198509723.
 ↑ Stratonovich, R. L. (1959). Optimum nonlinear systems which bring about a separation of a signal with constant parameters from noise. Radiofizika, 2:6, pp. 892901.
 ↑ Stratonovich, R.L. (1960) Application of the Markov processes theory to optimal filtering. Radio Engineering and Electronic Physics, 5:11, pp.119.
 ↑ Roweis, S. and Ghahramani, Z., A unifying review of linear Gaussian models, Neural Comput. Vol. 11, No. 2, (Feb. 1999), pp. 305345.
 ↑ Bucy, R.S. and Joseph, P.D., Filtering for Stochastic Processes with Applications to Guidance, John Wiley & Sons, 1968; 2nd Edition, AMS Chelsea Publ., 2005. ISBN 0821837826
 ↑ Jazwinski, Andrew H., Stochastic processes and filtering theory, Academic Press, New York, 1970. ISBN 0123815509
 ↑ Kailath, Thomas, "An innovation approach to leastsquares estimation Part I: Linear filtering in additive white noise", IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 13(6), 646655, 1968
External links
 An Introduction to the Kalman Filter, SIGGRAPH 2001 Course, Greg Welch and Gary Bishop
 Kalman filtering chapter from Stochastic Models, Estimation, and Control, vol. 1, by Peter S. Maybeck
 Kalman Filter webpage, with lots of links
 Kalman Filtering
 Kalman Filters, thorough introduction to several types, together with applications to Robot Localization
 Kalman filters used in Weather models, SIAM News, Volume 36, Number 8, October 2003.
 Critical Evaluation of Extended Kalman Filtering and MovingHorizon Estimation, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 44 (8), 2451 2460, 2005.
 Source code for the propeller microprocessor: Well documented source code written for the Parallax propeller processor.
 Example of Estimation Techniques used in Industry: Moving Horizon Estimation for Polymer Reactors
 Gerald J. Bierman's Estimation Subroutine Library: Corresponds to the code in the research monograph "Factorization Methods for Discrete Sequential Estimation" originally published by Academic Press in 1977. Republished by Dover
 Matlab Toolbox of Kalman Filtering applied to Simultaneous Localization and Mapping: Vehicle moving in 1D, 2D and 3D
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