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We address the issue of autonomous navigation, that is, the ability for a navigation system to provide information about the states of a vehicle without the need for a priori infrastructure such as GPS, beacons, or a map. The algorithm is known as simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) and it is a terrain aided navigation system (TANS) which has the capability for online map building, and simultaneously utilising the generated map to bound the errors in the navigation solution. Since the algorithm does not require any a priori terrain information or initial knowledge of the vehicle location, it presents a powerful navigation augmentation system or more importantly, it can be implemented as an independent navigation system. Results are first provided using computer simulation which analyses the effect of the spatial density of landmarks as well as the quality of observation and inertial navigation data, and then finally the real time implementation of the algorithm on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).