A Long-range Fine-scale RF Positioning System Using Tunneling Tags

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Qi, Cheng
Durgin, Gregory D.
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Fine-scale positioning systems using inexpensive, low-power, and reliable smart tags enables numerous commercial and scientific applications. Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as asset tracking, contact tracing, and autonomous driving, require wireless technologies with both the long ranges of conventional wireless links and the low power consumption of passive and semi-passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. This dissertation proves that using the Received Signal Phase (RSP)-based positioning method and Tunneling tags at 5.8 GHz breaks the range limit of fine-scale RFID positioning systems. A frequency hopping reader operating in the 5.8 GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band is designed and implemented in this work. Experimental results yield a one-dimensional distance estimation error of less than 1% at ranges of 100 m when a clear Line-of-Sight (LoS) is available in indoor and outdoor environments. Compared to Received Signal Strength (RSS)-based positioning techniques, the average positioning accuracy is improved by a factor of 51 at ranges of tens of meters. In Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) scenarios, the proposed system achieves an estimation error of less than 1.9%. Experimental results also demonstrate that the RSP-based positioning technique allows estimating a mobile reader's two-dimensional position with an average error of 0.17 m in an outdoor environment. Also, a channel sounder implementation using the same hardware configuration further increases the accuracy in multipath environments. Calculation based on the system specifications projects a sub-meter level accuracy at ranges of more than 1 km is feasible using the proposed method.
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