Dealing with Out-Of-Sequence Measurements with a fixed lag storage

In real world tracking situations, out of sequence measurements (OOSM) are a frequent issue and it is important to have tools to minimise their impact in our tracking capabilities.

In literature there are sophisticated solutions to adress this challenge. In a series of examples, we aim to provide a toolkit of approaches, better than just choosing to ignore such measurements.

In this example we focus on the simpler approach, also known as algorithm A [1] (also in [2] and [3]), where we create a “fixed lag” storage (called \(\ell\)-storage) of measurements and we go over the detections and place the OOSM in the correct order chain of measurements.

We employ a buffer of size \(\ell\) where the measurements are temporarely stored before being processed by the tracker. This buffer collects measurements until it is filled, checks the timestamps and re-order them accordingly and releases the data with the smallest timestamp. As a new measurement arrives, it is stored in the buffer and the same precedure is applied.

The issue with this approach is that the \(\ell\)-storage of measurements can grow quickly if we are dealing with large number of sensors or targets, therefore computationally expensive.

As a comparison, we add a track where the detections are processed as they arrive at the tracker (no reordering based on the detection timestamp), to prove that the tracking performance is worse in that scenario.

In other examples we present other algorithms and approaches to deal with OOSM in different manners (e.g. time inverse dynamics).

This example follows this structure:
  1. Create ground truth and detections;

  2. Instantiate the tracking components;

  3. Run the tracker and visualise the results.

General imports

import numpy as np
from datetime import datetime, timedelta
from copy import deepcopy

# Simulation parameters
start_time =
num_steps = 65  # simulation steps

Stone Soup Imports

from stonesoup.models.transition.linear import CombinedLinearGaussianTransitionModel, \
from stonesoup.types.groundtruth import GroundTruthPath, GroundTruthState
from stonesoup.types.state import GaussianState, State, StateVector

1. Create ground truth and detections;

In this example, we consider a single target moving on a nearly constant velocity trajectory. A sensor obtains the detections.

For simplicity, we assume clutter to be negligible in this example. The OOS measurements are assumed to have a known, fixed lag. The scans are happening every 5 seconds and these measurements are coming with a delay of 25 seconds.

The scans are a simplistic representation of real data coming from the sensor, at each timestamp the sensor collects data on its field of view, which consists of noise detections (in the means of clutter) and target measurements. The type of the sensor is modelled by the measurement model.

To model the delayed arrival of detections, we record the arrival time of the scans and we add the delay on the arrival time only, while keeping the detection timestamp correct. Then, we re-order the scans by their arrival time. In this way the tracker will receive the detections at their arrival time, creating the presence of delayed measurements, and allowing the application of the algorithm.

# instantiate the transition model
transition_model = CombinedLinearGaussianTransitionModel([ConstantVelocity(0.05),

# Create a list of timesteps
timestamps = [start_time]

# create a set of truths
truths = set()

# Instantiate the groundtruth for the first target
truth = GroundTruthPath([GroundTruthState([0, 1, -100, 0.3], timestamp=start_time)])

for k in range(1, num_steps):
        transition_model.function(truth[k-1], noise=True,
        timestamp=start_time + timedelta(seconds=5*k)))


# Create the measurements models
from stonesoup.models.measurement.linear import LinearGaussian

measurement_model = LinearGaussian(
    mapping=(0, 2),
    noise_covar=np.diag([50, 50]))

# Collect the measurements using scans
scans = []

# Create the detections
from stonesoup.types.detection import TrueDetection

# Loop over the timesteps and collect the detections
for k in range(num_steps):
    detections = set()

    # Introduce the delay
    if k%5==0:
        delay = 25
        delay = 0

    measurement = measurement_model.function(truth[k], noise=True)

    # Scans for tracking and reordering
    scans.append((truth[k].timestamp + timedelta(seconds=delay), detections))

# Reorder the scans by their arrival time
arrival_time_ordered = sorted(scans, key=lambda dscan: dscan[0])

2. Instantiate the tracking components;

We have the scans containing the detections ordered by their arrival time. It is time to prepare the tracking components. In this simple example we employ a KalmanPredictor and KalmanUpdater to perform the tracking.

from stonesoup.updater.kalman import KalmanUpdater
from stonesoup.predictor.kalman import KalmanPredictor
predictor = KalmanPredictor(transition_model)
updater = KalmanUpdater(measurement_model)

# create the prior
from stonesoup.types.state import GaussianState

prior = GaussianState(state_vector=[0, 1, -100, 0.3],
                      covar=np.diag([1, 1, 1, 1]),

# duplicate the prior
prior_lag = deepcopy(prior)

3. Run the tracker and visualise the results.

We have the detections and the tracking components ready to be used.

To show how the delayed detections impact the tracking performances we run a tracker with the detections as they arrive to the tracker without any modification.

# Load tracking components
from stonesoup.types.hypothesis import SingleHypothesis
from stonesoup.types.track import Track

# Instantiate the empty tracks
track = Track(prior)
track_lag = deepcopy(track)

# Load the plotter
from stonesoup.plotter import AnimatedPlotterly

# Consider the case without the algorithm
for k in range(len(arrival_time_ordered)):  # loop over the scans

    scan = arrival_time_ordered[k][1]

    for detection in scan:
        prediction = predictor.predict(prior_lag, timestamp=detection.timestamp)
        hypothesis = SingleHypothesis(prediction, detection)
        post = updater.update(hypothesis)
        prior_lag = track_lag[-1]

Visualise the tracking

Now visualise the detections and the track without the algorithm applied.

# Collect the detections
scans_detections = [item[1] for item in arrival_time_ordered]

plotter = AnimatedPlotterly(timesteps=timestamps)
plotter.plot_ground_truths(truths, [0, 2])
plotter.plot_measurements(scans_detections, [0, 2], measurements_label='Detections',
plotter.plot_tracks(track_lag, [0, 2], line= dict(color='grey'), track_label='Track with lag')

Let’s deal with OOS detections

It is known that some detections arrived with a fixed delay, therefore we create a buffer storage of fixed dimension (\(\ell\)) where we store the detections and where we check the timestamps and adjust them to their correct order. When one detection comes with an earlier timestamp (\(\tau < t_{k}\)), we shuffle the detections to keep the chain of detections.

# create the lag-storage to process the detections
lag_storage = []

# Run the algorithm to deal with the
for k in range(len(arrival_time_ordered)):
    # create a list of times for the timestamps
    original_timestamps = []

    # fill the buffer
    if k <= 4:
        lag_storage.append(arrival_time_ordered[k][1])  # feed the in the arrival order
        # now we have the buffer filled, check the detection timestamps order and release the earliest
        for scan in lag_storage:
            for detection in scan:

        # Re-order the timestamps detections
        index = np.argsort(original_timestamps)

        # Re-order the scans by their detections
        lag_storage = [lag_storage[i] for i in index]

        # feed the detections to the tracker
        for detection in lag_storage[0]:
            prediction = predictor.predict(prior, timestamp=detection.timestamp)
            hypothesis = SingleHypothesis(prediction, detection)
            post = updater.update(hypothesis)
            prior = track[-1]

        # clean the storage removing the first entry already used and add the last one considered

        # if we are at the last iteration, loop over the stored detections
        if k>=len(arrival_time_ordered)-1:
            for kk in range(0, 4):
                for detection in lag_storage[kk]:
                    prediction = predictor.predict(prior, timestamp=detection.timestamp)
                    hypothesis = SingleHypothesis(prediction, detection)
                    post = updater.update(hypothesis)
                    prior = track[-1]

Plotting the final track

plotter.plot_tracks(track, [0, 2], line= dict(color='blue'), track_label='Track with OOSM treated')


In this simple example we have shown an algorithm to deal with out of sequence measurements, with the use a fixed lag buffer where we store the detections and we re-order their arrival time to adjust for any delay. As well, we have shown how poorly is the tracking if we don’t consider any changes in the detection order. In other examples we present more complex algorithms to handle the OOSM and perform accurate tracking.


Total running time of the script: (0 minutes 1.099 seconds)

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