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GROUP PROJECT: Microsoft Indoor Localisation Competition



Paul Beuchat

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Indoor localisation finds application ranging from: vehicle positioning in underground mines, to easy-to-relocate robotic demonstrations, to personnel trackers for warehouse safety and management, and everything in-between. To drive the research and development of indoor localisation techniques, Microsoft has organised an annual indoor localisation competition for the last 3 years. The Automatic Control Laboratory (IfA) plans to enter the next instalment of the competition.

An new enabling technology for indoor localisation is commonly referred to as UWB (Ultra-Wide-Band). Over the past year, multiple student projects at IfA have demonstrated through hardware prototyping and algorithm development that UWB offers excellent potential as an indoor localisation technology to achieve 10cm localisation precision. The winners of the previous Microsoft Indoor localisation competition achieved only 23cm accuracy.

The goal of this group project is to take our fragmented hardware prototypes and algorithms to the next level by developing a robust, easy-to-deploy, and user friendly localisation system. In short, a system that allows us to compete (and win) the upcoming localisation competition.

If a competition-ready system is created, then the students will have the opportunity to travel to Pittsburg (PA) to compete in the Microsoft indoor localisation competition that will be held in April 2017.

Brief background on localisation

For localisation we consider having 2 types of devices operating on a field
  1. Anchors: these are devices that remain at a fixed location, for example located at the corners of a room.
  2. Tags: these are devices that move around on playing field, for example attached to robots that move around in the room
Using the UWB technology, all devices have the capability to send and receive messages, and are equipped with a high precision clock. The UWB technology we use is the Decawave DWM1000 chip, equipped with a omni-directional Chip-Antenna. These capabilities, ideally, allow a pair of devices to measure the distance between them by measuring the time it takes to send a message back and forth, and then dividing by the speed at which the message travels, i.e., the speed of light. Real world complications that reduce the accuracy of such measurements are: clock drift, device dependent timing offsets, and multiple messages cannot be receive simultaneously.

There are 3 main phases required for achieving high accuracy localisation:
  1. Phase 1 - Single anchor calibration: the device dependent timing offsets need to be identified and calibrated for each device separately.
  2. Phase 2 - Multi-anchor localisation: the anchors are placed at fixed locations but it is only practical to measure the exact position of a handful of them. The anchors must coordinate to measure the distance between all pairs, and based on this information compute the best estimate of their relative arrangement.
  3. Phase 3 - Moving-agent localisation: A tag move around the field and must communicate with the anchors using an algorithm that allows the tag compute its location on the field.
To compete in the localisation competition, we need all three phases to work robustly.


Completion of this Group Project requires the following to be carried out:
  • Familiarisation with existing hardware and code base.
  • Development and verification of an Antenna Delay calibration methodology.
  • Code development (in C and C++) for robust localisation of an array of fixed anchors, and a moving tag.
  • Assessment of localisation accuracy using a Vicon motion capture system for ground truth measurements.
  • Design and printing of a PCB with additional features.
  • 3D design and printing of housings for the devices.

Who we are looking for

We are looking for a group of highly motivated bachelors students that are interested in a project involving hardware implementation and theoretical understanding, and most importantly, the development of a robust system.

Weitere Informationen

John Lygeros

Art der Arbeit: Group Project
Anzahl StudentInnen:
Status: done
Projektstart: Anytime
Semester: HS2016 or FS2017