PITA Fiscal Year 2011 Projects

Scalable Location Tracking Using Switchable Directional Antennas

Lead University: Carnegie Mellon University
PI: Anthony Rowe, Electrical and Computer Engineering
PA Industry: Robert Bosch, LLC and 360 Sensing Inc. This project will study the use of multiple directional antennas to improve the accuracy, lifetime and scalability of location-based asset tracking in wireless sensor networks. Previous research on asset tracking systems has predominantly focused on improving localization accuracy without exploring the impact that protocol design choices have on position update-rate, latency, tag density, tag lifetime, fault-tolerance and interoperability with existing network traffic. Lowpower battery-operated devices are able to operate in hazardous environments like those found in factories, refineries, chemical processing facilities, mines and power plants that typically require intrinsically safe (IS) certification and where wiring installation costs are prohibitively expensive. Location data allows the tags to act as mobile sensors which can greatly improve coverage. The main deliverables will be (a) the design of a low-cost switchable antenna array for sensor networks, (b) the development of a directional MAC protocol and (c) an experimental evaluation of how directional antennas improve the performance of asset tracking applications.