Skip to Main Content
This paper examines the problem of target detection by a wireless sensor network. Sensors acquire measurements emitted from the target that are corrupted by noise, and initially make individual decisions about the presence/absence of the target. We propose the local vote decision fusion algorithm, in which sensors first correct their decisions using decisions of neighboring sensors, and then make a collective decision as a network. An explicit formula that approximates the system's decision threshold for a given false alarm rate is derived using limit theorems for random fields, which provides a theoretical performance guarantee for the algorithm. We examine both distance- and nearest-neighbor-based versions of the local vote algorithm for grid and random sensor deployments and show that, in many situations, for a fixed-system false alarm, the local vote correction achieves significantly higher target detection rate than decision fusion based on uncorrected decisions. The algorithm does not depend on the signal model and is shown to be robust to different types of signal decay. We also extend this framework to temporal fusion, where information becomes available over time.