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High-Accuracy TDOA-Based Localization without Time Synchronization

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4 Author(s)
Bin Xu ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Tsinghua Univ., Beijing, China ; Guodong Sun ; Ran Yu ; Zheng Yang

Localization is of great importance in mobile and wireless network applications. Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) is one of the widely used localization schemes, in which the target (source) emits a signal and a number of anchors (receivers) record the arriving time of the source signal. By calculating the time difference of different receivers, the location of the target is estimated. In such a scheme, receivers must be precisely time synchronized. But time synchronization adds computational cost, and brings errors which may lower localization accuracy. Previous studies have shown that existing time synchronization approaches using low-cost devices are insufficiently accurate, or even infeasible under high requirement for accuracy. In our scheme (called Whistle), several asynchronous receivers record a target signal and a successive signal that is generated artificially. By two-signal sensing and sample counting techniques, time synchronization requirement can be removed, while high time resolution can be achieved. This design fundamentally changes TDOA in the sense of releasing the synchronization requirement and avoiding many sources of errors caused by time synchronization. We implement Whistle on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) cell phones with acoustic signal and perform simulations with UWB signal. Especially we use Whistle to localize nodes of large-scale wireless networks, and also achieve desirable results. The extensive real-world experiments and simulations show that Whistle can be widely used with good accuracy.

Published in:

Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 8 )