Method and apparatus for estimating distance and location

A method and apparatus for estimating a distance of a transmitting device from a receiving device through near-field radio transmission.

Title of the patent Method and apparatus for estimating a distance and a location through near-field multi-frequency radio transmissions
Thematic area Electrical, electronic and information engineering
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna
Inventors Davide Dardari, Nicolò Decarli
Protection Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom
Licensing status Available for licensing agreement
Keywords Distance measure, radio, near-field, short-range localization, multi-frequency
Filed on Feb 16, 2012

RTLS (real time locating system) systems are composed of an infrastructure formed by fixed reference radio devices, suitably interconnected with each other (anchor nodes), and one or more mobile radio devices (targets) to be localized. Typically RTLS systems determine the position of a target by extrapolating the parameters related to target position, from the radio signals exchanged between the anchor and target devices. Starting from the measurement of these parameters, the target position is estimated by means of geometric triangulation or multilateration techniques.

High precision RTLS system are able to determine the position of a target even indoor, where GPS cannot work. The indoors position information in real time allows the development of advanced applications for logistics, safety, medicine (monitoring of patients), rescue, etc.

The invention is about a system for the measurement of the distance and the position between two or more radio devices, able to take advantage of the characteristic of the near-field radio propagation. It consists in the transmission of low-frequency signals that are processed when receive, this way allowing the calculation of distance and relative positioning of radio devices.

-        Use of low-frequency signal that allows higher signal propagation when obstacles are present

-        Higher accuracy

-        Possibility of estimating with accuracy the distance between transmitting and receiving device

-        Limited number of anchor nodes required

-        Low cost electronic technologies

-        Simplification of the infrastructure