Technique locates robots, soldiers in GPS-challenged areas

phys.org | 10/10/2018 | Staff
joyy (Posted by) Level 3
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Scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have developed a novel algorithm that enables localization of humans and robots in areas where GPS is unavailable.

According to ARL researchers Gunjan Verma and Dr. Fikadu Dagefu, the Army needs to be able to localize agents operating in physically complex, unknown and infrastructure-poor environments.

Capability - Soldiers - Humans - Agents - Verma

"This capability is critical to help find dismounted Soldiers and for humans and robotic agents to team together effectively," Verma said. "In most civilian applications, solutions such as GPS work well for this task, and help us, for example, navigate to a destination via our car."

However, noted the researchers, such solutions are not suitable for the military environment.

Example - Adversary - Infrastructure - Satellites - GPS

"For example, an adversary may destroy the infrastructure (e.g., satellites) needed for GPS; alternatively, complex environments (e.g., inside a building) are hard for the GPS signal to penetrate," Dagefu said. "This is because complex and cluttered environments impede the straight-line propagation of wireless signals."

Dagefu said that obstacles inside the building, especially when their size is much larger than the wavelength of the wireless signal, weaken the power of the signal (attenuation) and re-direct its flow (called multipath), making a wireless signal very unreliable for communicating information about location.

Researchers - Approaches - Localization - Signal - Power

According to the researchers, typical approaches to localization, which use a wireless signal's power or delay (i.e., how long it takes to reach a target from a source), work well in outdoor scenes with minimal obstacles; however, they perform poorly in obstacle-rich scenes.

The team of ARL scientists including Dagefu and Verma developed a novel technique for determining the direction of arrival, or DoA, of a radio frequency signal source, which is a fundamental enabler of localization.

Technique - Effects - Methods

"The proposed technique is robust to multiple scattering effects, unlike existing methods...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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