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The work reported in this paper investigates the performance of the Particle Filter (PF) algorithm for tracking a moving object using a wireless sensor network (WSN). It is well known that the PF is particularly well suited for use in target tracking applications. However, a comprehensive analysis on the effect of various design and calibration parameters on the accuracy of the PF has been overlooked. This paper outlines the results from such a study. In particular, we evaluate the effect of various design parameters (such as the number of deployed nodes, number of generated particles, and sampling interval) and calibration parameters (such as the gain, path loss factor, noise variations, and nonlinearity constant) on the tracking accuracy and computation time of the particle-filter-based tracking system. Based on our analysis, we present recommendations on suitable values for these parameters, which provide a reasonable trade-off between accuracy and complexity. We also analyze the theoretical Cramér-Rao Bound as the benchmark for the best possible tracking performance and demonstrate that the results from our simulations closely match the theoretical bound. In this paper, we also propose a novel technique for calibrating off-the-shelf sensor devices. We implement the tracking system on a real sensor network and demonstrate its accuracy in detecting and tracking a moving object in a variety of scenarios. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that empirical results from a PF-based tracking system with off-the-shelf WSN devices have been reported. Finally, we also present simple albeit important building blocks that are essential for field deployment of such a system.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2010