Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Johné Parker


The work presented herein explores the ability of Ultra High Frequency Radio Frequency (UHF RF) devices, specifically (Radio Frequency Identification) RFID passive tags and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to be used as tools to locate items of interest inside a building. Localization Systems based on these technologies are commercially available, but have failed to be widely adopted due to significant drawbacks in the accuracy and reliability of state of the art systems. It is the goal of this work to address that issue by identifying and potentially improving upon localization algorithms.

The work presented here breaks the process of localization into distance estimations and trilateration algorithms to use those estimations to determine a 2D location. Distance estimations are the largest error source in trilateration. Several methods are proposed to improve speed and accuracy of measurements using additional information from frequency variations and phase angle information. Adding information from the characteristic signature of multipath signals allowed for a significant reduction in distance estimation error for both BLE and RFID which was quantified using neural network optimization techniques. The resulting error reduction algorithm was generalizable to completely new environments with very different multipath behavior and was a significant contribution of this work.

Another significant contribution of this work is the experimental comparison of trilateration algorithms, which tested new and existing methods of trilateration for accuracy in a controlled environment using the same data sets. Several new or improved methods of triangulation are presented as well as traditional methods from the literature in the analysis. The Antenna Pattern Method represents a new way of compensating for the antenna radiation pattern and its potential impact on signal strength, which is also an important contribution of this effort. The performance of each algorithm for multiple types of inputs are compared and the resulting error matrix allows a potential system designer to select the best option given the particular system constraints.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)