Localization is the process of obtaining a devices location, either in an indoor or an outdoor environment. Localization finds applications in smart cities, industry, medicine, and rescue services amongst others. Recently, localization has been used to warn users of other users within proximity during the Covid-19 pandemic using Bluetooth communication. There is ample research opportunity to improve the technology and enable new emerging use-cases like XR(cross-reality), autonomous vehicles and drones. New frequency bands with high bandwidth is a key enabler to achieving high accuracy in localization.
However, current hardware consumes a lot of power to achieve high accuracy in these high frequency bands. The goal of the research is to design IC (Integrated Circuits) to obtain centimetre-level accuracy in locating an object while being sufficiently low power to support battery powered devices.
Distance between two devices is estimated by measuring the time it takes for radio waves to propagate from one device to the other. The main challenges for accurate localization are noise and reflections of radio waves from other objects. The project involves developing mathematical models of the systems to arrive at the optimum radio architecture and specifications of the blocks. Radio circuits are then designed to satisfy the requirements of low power and high positional accuracy using IC design tools and verified through simulation. The circuits need to be manufactured and then tested in a lab.
The project will help gain knowledge to design power-efficient circuits for high frequency and high bandwidth. It will also help in understanding challenges in integrating multiple antennae into the radio and to get high accuracy in localization. It will help in making future radio circuits more power-efficient while improving performance in ranging compared to current products.
Low-power, accurate, ranging and localization is a key technology in a wide set of use-cases. Some applications where accurate localization is needed are aerial drones, autonomous vehicles, and inventory management. Localization has also found application to locate near-contacts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Usage of higher frequency spectrum in mobile communication gives possibility for higher bandwidth, to support high data rates for various user applications. Higher bandwidth also provides better accuracy in localization. However, designing power-efficient radios for high bandwidth is challenging. Existing radio architectures may not be able to support the requirements. So, new architectures must be investigated to obtain centimeter level accuracy in localization. Physical multi-path effects caused by reflections and refractions in the transmission channel lead to complex phase and magnitude effects, which degrade performance in localization systems. Transmitter and receiver circuits must be researched to get a good performance while still being power-efficient. Signal processing techniques also play a key role to post process the data and estimate the correct distance. The research intends to find out efficient algorithm to reduce time needed to find the estimate.