Exploiting FPGAs for Sensor Fusion

Steve Chappell1, Alistair Macarthur1, Dan Preston2, Dave Olmstead2 and
Bob Flint3

1Celoxica Ltd, Oxfordshire, U.K.
2Medius Inc., Seattle, WA
3BAE SYSTEMS Ventures, Farnborough, U.K.


We present a system for the boresighting of sensors using inertial measurement devices as the basis for developing a range of dynamic real-time sensor fusion applications. The proof of concept utilises a COTS FPGA platform for sensor fusion and real-time correction of a misaligned video sensor, although the system is applicable to any directional sensor type. We exploit a custom-designed 32-bit soft processor core and C-based FPGA synthesis for rapid, platform-neutral development. Kalman filter and sensor fusion techniques established in advanced aviation systems are applied to automotive vehicles with results exceeding typical industry requirements for sensor alignment. Results of the static and the dynamic tests demonstrate that using inexpensive accelerometers mounted on (or during assembly of) a sensor and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) fixed to a vehicle can be used to compute the misalignment of the sensor to the IMU and thus vehicle. In some cases the model predications and test results exceeded the requirements by an order of magnitude with a 3-sigma or 99% confidence.

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