Range based algorithms for precise localization of terrestrial objects using a drone

Francesco Betti Sorbelli, Sajal K. Das, Cristina M. Pinotti, Simone Silvestri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In this paper we propose two algorithms, called DIR and OMNI, for precisely localizing terrestrial objects, or more simply sensors, using a drone. DIR is based on the observation that, by using directional antennas, it is possible to precisely localize terrestrial sensors just applying a single trilateration. We extend this approach to the case of a regular omnidirectional antenna and formulate the OMNI algorithm. Both DIR and OMNI plan a static path for the drone over the deployment area, which includes a set of waypoints where distance measurements between the drone and the sensors are taken. Differently from previously proposed best-effort approaches, our algorithms prove that a guaranteed precision can be achieved by considering a set of waypoints, for each sensor, that are at a distance above a certain threshold and that surround the sensor with a certain layout. We perform extensive simulations to validate the performance of our algorithms. Results show that both approaches provide a comparable localization precision, but DIR exhibits a shorter path compared to OMNI, being able to exploit the directional antennas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-42
Number of pages23
JournalPervasive and Mobile Computing
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Directional antenna
  • Drones
  • IR-UWB
  • Localization precision
  • Omnidirectional antenna
  • Terrestrial localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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