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Wireless Local Positioning Concepts, Solutions, Applications

Martin Vossiek, Leif Wiebking, Peter Gulden, Jan Wieghardt, Clemens HoffmaM Siemens Corporate Technology, Otto-Hahn-Ring 6,81730 Munich, Germany E-mail:
Absfrocf -Local positioning will be one of the most exciting features of the next generation of wireless systems. 'With this technique a mobile device can either gather the information about its position or can be localized from elsewhere. Completely new concepts and features in wireless data transmission and transponder systems will be enabled by this. Self organizing sensor networks, ubiquitous computing, location sensitive billing, context dependent information services, tracking and guiding are only some of the numerous possible application areas. This paper gives an overview over existing wireless positioning solutions and attempts to structure different techniques and spplirations. Furthermore two novel positioning systems currently developid by Siemens are featured as system examples. First B neural cellular positioning system NCPS is introduced. This system is designed for positioning solutions for industrial, medical and consumer scenarios and is based on existing wireless voice or data infrastruchwe. Second the Siemens local positioning radar (LPR) is presented. This system is designed for cm-precision and realtime positioning in the area of industrial logistics, control and automation. The application examples are completed by an application in the field of augmented reality computing.

concept remote positioning self-positioning

indirect remote

Definition measurement from remote site to mobile device measurement from mobile unit to usually fixed transponders (landmarks) self%"tianine s ~ s l e m with data transfer of

1. INTRODUCTION In recent years an exponential growth of wireless systems has been observed. Wireless technology entered the realms of consumer applications, as well as industrial, medical, logistics along with many other applications. Since wireless information access is now widely available the demand for local positioning systems draws significant attention [I]. This strongly emerging need is driven by several aspects. At first the great success of wireless systems is essentially explained hy the mobility they enable. Mohility is by nature coupled with uncertainty. However, uncertainty is often not desired in applications like industrial manufacturing, network organization and many other applications. Local positioning is the only mean to efficiently overcome this uncertainty. Security and integrity also benefit strongly from local positioning. Last but not least the data capacity of wireless networks is inherently limited. Thus, an intelligent context dependent information transfer is wanted. One essential context is of course the location of the mobile device. This location dependent data transfer comes along with very amactive novel services and convenience features. Intense research activities are stimulated by this need. Nearly all 'big players' in the wireless world and numerous start-up companies are working on this topic and consequently there is a growing number of commercially available wireless local positioning systems. A first distinction is made hetween self-positioning and remote-positioning systems. In a self positioning system the measuring unit is mobile. This unit receives the signals of several transmitters in known location and has the capability to calculate its actual position based on the measured signals. Remote-positioning systems work the other way round. Their signal transmitter is mobile and several fixed measurement units receive the transmitter's signal. In a master station the results of all measurement units are collected and the transmitters position is calculated. The major advantage of remote positioning systems is that the mobile device can be small, cheap and power efficient. On the other hand this advantage is paid for by the need for a complex system and backbone network and thus an expensive infrastructure. It severely depends on the application if a remote-positioning or a self-positioning system is better suited. Choosing the wrong approach can increase the overall system cost by more than a factor of 10. This fact emphasizza that it is hardly possible to build a single system that covers a very broad applications range. If a local positioning systems provides a wireless data link, it is of course possible to send the measurement result i) from a self-positioning measurement unit to the remote side or ii) vice versa. The first case i) can be thought of as indirect-remotepositioning while case ii) is named indirect-self-positioning.

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A . Measurementprinciples Mainly three different measurement principles are used today: Angle-of-anival (AOA), received signal strength (RSS), and propagation-time based systems that can further be divided into three different subclasses: Time-of-arrival (TOA), roundtrip-time-of-flight (RTOF) and time-difference-of-arrival (TDOA). Figure 1 illustrates the foundation of each concept.

Figure 1: Measuring principles a) angle-of-arrival AOA, where RU and Mu denote remofc and mobile unit, a!and a,are the measured direction angles; b) received signal strength RSS, where b and L? denote the measured path loss e ) time-of-arrival UOA) and roundnip time-of-flight (RTOF), w h m T, and rl denote the measured one way or the roundmp signal propagation time, the spatial position is given by the intersection of circles centered at the RUa d) time-difffrence-of-amval (TDOA), where AT12 and A n ) denote the measured propagation time difference from a signal baveling fram the MU to two differat RUs and the position is given by tbe intersecrim of hyperbola with foci at the RUs.

In Angle-of-arrival (AOA) systems the position is calculated via goniometry. With the use of directional antennas or antenna arrays the angle or bearing relative to points located at known positions is measured. The intersection of several measured direction pointers then yields the position value. The accuracy of this approach is limited by the possible directivity of the measuring aperture, by shadowing and/or by multipath reflections amving from misleading directions. Received signal strength (RSS) systems are based on propagation-loss equations. The free-space transmission loss However, this simple Le for instance is proportional to equation is in most cases unsuited to calculate the distance value from the difference of transmitted and received power under real conditions [3]. In indoor environments or built-up areas multipath fading and shadowing have a dominant effect [4]. To overcome this problem advanced propagation models are required or the actual field distribution in the area of interest has to he leamt from measurements. Due to the highly nonlinear input-output mapping sophisticated algorithms or neural

networks are used. The latter approach is applied in the NCPS system described later on in this article. The major advantage of RSS Systems is the fact that most modem radio modules already provide a received signal strength indicator (RSSI). Also the bit error rate BER can he used to estimate the signal attenuation. Consequently, implementing a local positioning system within a wireless communication system is more or less a software topic and proprietary hardware is not required. Due to their physical restraints AOA and RSS systems only deliver moderate position accuracy. The perhaps most intuitive and accurate approach for local position measurement is to measure the time-of-flight of the signal traveling from the transmitter to the measuring unit and hack. Obviously the timeof-flight can then be used to calculate the distance, Based on several such measurements a 2D or 3D position can be derived directly using lateralization. However, this straightforward approach has severe inherent difficulties when implemented. Clock synchronization is a major issue. In fact, time-based systems are mainly distinguished by the different concepts dealing with this issue. In TOA systems the one-way propagation time is measured and the distance between measuring unit and signal transmitter is calculated. This concept requires precise time synchronization of all involved fixed and mobile units. In this case the absolute time synchronization must have at least a precision related to the desired positioning accuracy. For example a positioning error band of *I m requires an absolute time synchronization significantly below 1 ns. Since the clock information has to he distributed to and kept in the mobile unit this approach either leads to a very expensive or less accurate system. ' The absolute synchronization requirement can be replaced by a more moderate relative clock synchronization requirement if an RTOF approach is chosen. Here the measuring unit more or less acts as a common radar. A transponder responds to the interrogating radar signal, and the complete round-trip propagation time is measured. In this case the synchronisation challenge is that the measuring unit has to know the exact delaylprocessing time caused by the responder. A simple example shows that this requirement is also difficult to meet. Provided that both the measuring unit and the transponder have a fairly good X-tal clock source with 25 ppm accuracy a processing time of I ms in the transponder can lead to a measurement deviation of several meters. Hence, typically a better clock synchronization or a very short processing time are required in RTOF systems. An elegant approach to avoid this synchronisation problem is to use the concept of modulated reflection [5,6]. Here the interrogating signal from the base station is just reflected coherently superimposed with a specific modulation. The main drawback of this approach is that the radar signal has to travel the complete round-trip path. Hence the propagation loss is proportional to at least the fourth power of the distance r. In consequence the standard form of this approach is only suited for sholt-range systems. However, novel transponder concepts provide solutions to overcome this drawback [7,8]. Later on in this paper a very powerful RTOF system based on modulated reflection is presented.



Most of the available solutions today are remote TDOA systems. In TDOA systems the time-difference of arrival of the signals received in several pairs of measuring units is evaluated. The benefit over TDOA systems is that it is only necessary to synchronise the measuring units. This synchronization is done using a backbone network or a reference transpondkr in a known position. Nearly all time-based local positioning systems are utilizing signals and signal evaluation concepts that are well known from modem radar systems. CW-signals, pulses or pseudo random pulse-sequences, linear frequency modulated signals, frequency hop or phase modulated signals can all be applied. The different signal forms all have their specific pros and cons with respect to hardware / software burden, implementation, and performance. There is one common characteristic for all wideband modulation schemes: In multipath environments bandwidth is the key demand for precise positioning [Y]. Only with an appropriate bandwidth it is possible to resolve and separate multipath transmissions. Even with a bandwidth of several 100 MHz, the accuracy of a well designed system will be mainly limited by non-resolved multipath txansmission andor multipath fading.

Figure 2 depicts a rough overview of current wireless local positioning systems. It is beyond the scope of this paper to provide a complete overview of systems available today. Only some exemplary systems and companies are mentioned. The hest known and most widely spread positioning system is the global positioning system GPS (or its differential Complement DGPS) [IO]. This excellent and globally available system is also well suited for many other outdoor local positioning tasks. However GPS has its shortcomings in dense urban areas and inside buildings. Unfortunately this is exactly the area where heavy, strongly-growing local wireless data transfer takes place.
automation I

tracking. routing 9, SIC.

' U
10 30 100 300 1K accwacy (meters) Figllre 2: Overview of current wiceless local positioning systems



For cell phone positioning several different solutions exist

[2, 11, 121. The easiest but most imprecise concept is to use the cell-ID that is directly related to the physical position of the
serving site. Typical cell sizes vary from some 100 m up to

several 10 km. TOA or TDOA measurements from neighboring base sites can increase the accuracy to approx. 50 m to some 100 meters in urban areas. Implementing local positioning solutions on standard WLAN communication systems as DECT, WLAN802.11 or Bluetooth is very attractive. Mutual synergy between the positioning and the communication system is present. Some years ago the Microsoft Research Group introduced their so called RADAR system which is a RRS positioning systems based on WLAN components [13]. TDOA solutions based on DSSS or OFDM WLAN were reported by Li et al. [14]. Further on in this article the Siemens NCPS solution will he described which is an RSS system either DECT or WLAN802.11 based. Intense activities with respect to local positioning can also be observed in the Bluetooth community A local positioning working group within the Bluetooth special interest group defined the related standards ( The microcellular structure of a Bluetooth network allows to localize a Bluetooth device very easily with an accuracy related to the size of the piconet. To increase the accuracy the usual WLAN RSS evaluation concepts can be used. The accuracy of typical WLAN positioning systems is approx. 3 to 30 m, with an update rate in the range of some seconds. Some proprietary solutions such as the 3D-ID system from PinPoint [IS] or the TDOA system from WhereNet [I61 have similar performance as the WLAN systems mentioned above. However, the specially designed hardware and a protocol with longer power down periods allows for minimal power consumption in the mobile devices and thus these products mainly address the typical transponder market and not WLAN data services. As depicted in Figure 2 a technology barrier can be defined between precision positioning systems that provide an accuracy significantly better than Im and the less accurate systems. For many tracking, routing and guiding applications a moderate accuracy is sufficient. However, quite a few areas like automation and control require much higher accuracy. Up to now only proprietary broadband microwave systems can offer this accuracy. Future Ultra Wideband (UWB) WLAN systems will very likely be able to provide precise local positioning information. Several proprietary UWB local positioning systems are already available today [17]. However, with the severe power restrictions of the current FCC UWB regulation mainly short range solutions are feasible. One of the most powerful wireless local positioning systems available today has been developed by the Austrian Company ABATEC [IS]. This system called LPM was especially designed for sports applications. For less cost sensitive applications it offers a wide range of more than 500 m, a high update rate of less than 1 ms, and cm-precision. A similar update rate and accuracy is achieved hv the Siemens local positioning radar LPR that was recently launched for industrial applications like crane and forklift positioning. This system was designed under the guideline of minimal installation, infrastructure and maintenance cost. The LPR will be described in detail below.


A . RSS-System Example - Siemens NCPS

The basic foundations of RSS systems have already been discussed. This section now introduces a specific RSS, the SIEMENS neural cellular positioning system (NCPS). Specific focus of the system is on cost reduction, achieved by using existing wireless voice or data infrastructure, and avoiding the usage of a separate receiver. Mobile handsets or wireless LAN adapters already scan the radio band regularly to initiate a handover whenever the received power drops below a certain threshold. The use of this measurement data does not require additional hardware in the receiver. Simply the received signal power together with the base station ID is transmitted to the central position calculation engine. Yet the main problem to overcome when using an amplitude type quantity for indoor positioning is the complex non-linear field distribution that turns the simple relation between received power and distance into a complex mapping problem. Figure 3 illustrates this situation.

B. RTOF -System Example - Siemens LPR As discussed before, several applications require accuracy of a few cm, and oflen update rates below 100 ms. This can only he met by proprietary microwave systems like the SIEMENS Local Positioning Radar (LPR). In this RTOF system the round-trip time-of-flight between a transponder unit and the base station(s) is measured. An additional feature of the SIEMENS LPR is that operation both as remote-positioning and self-positioning system is possible. In the following mostly the self-positioning operation as shown in Figure 4 is considered.

n n n n n n l
Figure 4; Operating principle and srmcNre of LPR in self-positioning mode

The complexity of the field configuration is addressed by neural network learning methods. The actual distribution of the electromagnetic field is learnt from measurements of the received power at known positions. The distribution is stored on the central server, and serves as input for the position calculation engine. During localization the wireless device now transmits the measured power for each of the base stations. The position calculation engine then maps the position from the field strength relative to each base station, and provides the actual measured position. Typical system accuracy and parameters are summarized in table 2. The specific advantages of this system are the seamless integration into standard communication systems, and that no additional hardware is required.
TABLE: h I C A L PARAMETERS OF NCPS-SYSTEM 2 Accuracy 15 - 15 [m]

Based on the FMCW radar principle a mobile measuring unit B, simultaneously measures the distance to all modulated active reflector units T,..T, in within reach. By solving the set of triangulation equations based on the measurement geometry and the measured distance values, the position of the mobile unit is calculated. The basics of the measurement concepts have been reported before [19]. The only differences of the present solution are the different kind of modulated transponder and a more sophisticated radar front-end. These changes lead to an extended measuring range of several 100 m. Furthermore the optimized system approach omits any reference sources - neither clock synchronization nor a reference unit are needed. Additionally, the current solution is fully realtime capable, and update rates up to 1 !&z can be achieved. If the measurement information is also needed in a central station a standard WLAN link parallel to the LPR can be used. Table 3 summarizes the accuracy and performance obtained with the current system.
TABLE TWlCAL PARAMETERSOF LPR-SYSTEM 3: 0.05 - 0.15 [m] 100% inside transponder field only LOS Update time 1-200 ms InfraStmcture Proprietaly

Accuracy Coverage



A. User Localization and Asset Managemen! Infrastructure management is of great interest for smart offices, hospital management and many other applications. Systems like the SIEMENS NCPS use the existing infrastructure like cordless phones or WLAN systems, resulting in low system and installation cost. Two different implementations of the NCPS exist: The first is embedded in the Siemens HIPATH-

Coverage Acquisition speed Infrastructure

1 100% inside cellular network I LOS and NLOS I 2 - 5 seconds I DECT or WLAN 802.1 1


cordless telephony system, the second uses WLAN 802.1 Ib and WLAN 802.11g. Furthermore the desired area is usually covered by the systems, avoiding additional installations. A typical application is asset location within an office building. The asset management software for instance sends a localization request to find a color printer. The positioning request arrives at the Location Server via LAN. The server establishes a connection to the wireless phoneifax unit of the printer using a standard customer application protocol (CAP) interface over the central switch. The information is relayed hack and forth using the controller units (SLC) and the base stations BS. The wireless phone performs the previously described measurements and transmits the power measurement data hack to the server. The sewer performs the processing, calculates a position in standard global coordinates and finally hands over the printer position to the application. The NCPS system was tested in an office building. Pint the field distribution of one floor was learned, and then a cordless phone was located at several different positions. Figure 5 illustrates the topology of the building floor and displays the measured positions. The resulting accuracy of a few meters is sufficient for most infrasrmcture localization applications.
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Figure 5: Obtained pasilions inside building

B. Intelligent Factoq The idea itself of an intelligent factory is based on knowing the position of every production machinery, stock, and transport means. Typically objects to he tracked are fork-lifts, cranes, or maintenance workers. Stock can he tracked by transmitting the precise position when being removed From the transport vehicle. Figure 6 depicts a typical scenario. Complete position tracking by the central computing station enables several exciting new features: a complete overview over the location and amount of all supplies included in the manufacturing process optimization of the material flow definition of virtual areas (storage area etc.), restriction of operation of the transportation means collision avoidance

Naturally this application requires a faster update rate, adjusted to the speed of the transportation means. Furthermore the precision of the position measurements must be similar or better than the physical dimension of the transported objects The novel Siemens LPR was designed for such applications. A very successkl exemplary application of LPR was the localization of the indoor portal cranes of a steel-mill. The building is an industrial hall with metal roof and walls, 50 meters wide and 1000 meters long. Transponder units were mounted along the walls as RF-landmarks. The measuring unit was installed on the crane, and computed its position using the previously described algorithm. The position data was then transmitted to the central computer, and processed by a stockyard management system. The field campaign yielded excellent results: Despite harsh environmental conditions a maximal inaccuracy helow f 15 cm was obtained. Figure 7a illustrates an exemplary measured track of the crane. Figure 7b shows a histogram of a typical positioning error distribution. In the test campaign the error was measured relative to a reference measurement system and the depicted measurements were taken during the usual production process. The results are remarkable since the hall had a typical RMS delay spread of several 100 ns the maximum measured values even reach I ps. The direct link with the stockyard management system drastically improved material flow and turn around time.. The outstanding performance shows that the system is well suited for many other applications in logistics, automation and factory supervision. al b)

Figure 7 Histogram of measured distance error of LPR relative to reference system. 1000 Measurements dunng normal crane operation inside rolling mill


C. Augmented Renliw Wireless local positioning is a key technology for novel user context based services. Several applications are researched in the SIEMENS-project INSTAR, jointly undertaken by Siemens Corporate Technology, the JohaMes Kepler University Linz, and the Ars Electronica Futurelab, Linz. One area of specific interest is pedestrian navigation. A PDA serves a basic computing platform and displays the augmented view. A camera and an inertial sensor are rigidly attached to the PDA such that the orientation of camera and display can be measured reliably. Finally a positioning module must be provided, as for example a GPS-receiver for outdoor scenarios, or an NCPS or LPR-system for indoor applications. The actual navigation process, i.e. route calculation and map matching, is performed on a remote server, which is accessed via wireless LAN. Like this the entire positioning process could be integrated into an autonomous mobile platform.

emerging. Nearly all 'big players' in the wireless world and numerous start-up companies have intense research activities in this area. Some already claim to have somewhat basic IP and universal, unique solutions. This contradicts the authors' point of view who have not seen either a basic IP or a universal solution. All available products today still address niche markets and proprietary systems are designed to meet the unique requirements of each application. In conclusion, localization is an open field, and during the next years intense competition in this very attractive market is expected. A welcome result of this competition will be that many powerful and attractive wireless local positioning systems, solutions and services become available.

[I] Hightower, J., Barriello, G., "Locations systems for ubiquitous computing", Computer, August 2001, "01 34, "0.8 p. 57-66. [2] Bane, C., Macnaughtan, M., Scott, C., "Positioning GSM Telephones",

Figure 8: lllustration of an AR-based runway maintenance system

exemplary application is runway maintenance. Conventional markers for defects like potholes are either hardly visible or distract pilots using the runmay. Additionally they are difficult to find due to the scale and uniformity of a runway. Using augmented reality in combination with localization, a control team sends the position of the defects to the server. The maintenance crew is then guided to the relevant points using a mobile augmented reality system, avoiding the complications of purely map based navigation. In the near future wireless local positioning technologies will certainly he at the heart of a number of interesting new augmented reality services, which in tum will provide the user with a natural intuitive interface to abstract digital information.

V. CONCLUSION Basic principles and exemplary solutions for modem wireless local positioning systems have been demonstrated, and an insight into the huge application field of wireless local positioning systems has been provided. Local positioning will have a strong, lasting impact on the application of wireless systems and it will evoke paradigm changes in many areas. That said it is obvious that a multi-billion dollar business is

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