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When tracking targets in dense environments, sensor reports originating from sources other than the target being tracked (i.e., from clutter, thermal false alarms, other targets) are occasionally incorrectly used in track updating. As a result tracking performance degrades, and the error covariance matrix calculated on-line by the usual types of tracking filters becomes extremely unreliable for estimating actual accuracies. This paper makes three contributions in this area. First, a new tracking filter is developed that incorporates, in an a posteriori statistical fashion, all data available from sensor reports located in the vicinity of the track, and that provides both optimal performance and reliable estimates of this performance when operating in dense environments. The optimality of and the performance equations for this filter are verified by analytical and simulation results. Second, several computationally efficient classes of suboptimal tracking filters based on the optimal filter developed in this paper and on an optimal filter of another class that appeared previously in the literature are developed. Third, using an extensive Monte Carlo simulation, the various optimal and suboptimal filters as well as the Kalman filter are compared, with regard to the differences between the on-line calculated and experimental covariances of each filter, and with regard to relative accuracies, computational requirements, and numbers of divergences or lost tracks each produces.
Date of Publication: Jul 1974