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Insights into Indoor Navigation

Cameron Morgan Cole Raschpichler Paul Wiebe
British Columbia Institute of British Columbia Institute of British Columbia Institute of
Technology Technology Technology
Burnaby Canada Burnaby, Canada Burnaby, Canada
Member, IEEE

response efforts as well as commercial applications. Current

AbstractThis paper presents five papers that are centered on techniques include measuring the received signal strength
the topic of Insights into Indoor Navigation. Floor detection based (RSS) of various wireless access points to determine which
on Sensor fusion is investigated in order to gather a better floor the user is on, but this technique alone has an error rate
understanding of combining different measurement techniques to of ~22%. Another attempt to measure floor location is by
achieve a better measured result. Methods of crowd counting and measuring the barometric pressure (BP), but this method relies
their various advantages and disadvantages are investigated. A
proposed solution called UrbanCount, is studied and compared
on the installation of an extra sensor as a reference which is
against traditional solutions. Multi-sensor fusion based fault undesirable. Barometric pressure is unreliable without a
detection is explored and its benefits and drawbacks are discussed. reference due to natural fluctuations in pressure caused by
Holography of Wi-fi Radiation and See Through Walls using Wi- weather systems. This paper proposes using a novel method to
Fi touched upon the idea of imaging using standard Wi-Fi combine RSS and BP measurements using a Kalman Filter in
equipment. order to reduce the floor detection error rate. Using this
technique, the authors have achieved a stunning error rate of
only ~0.5%.
Index TermsCredibility, Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI),
Sensor Fusion, UrbanCount To test the various measurement techniques, the authors
traversed a path throughout several floors of the Information
and Communication Technology building on the University of
I. INTRODUCTION Calgary campus for approximately two hours. Using this
experimental setup, the various measurement techniques were
I NDOOR navigation continues to be a hot topic for special
debate. Issues such as collision detection, navigation, and
environmental measurement remains throughout this field.
tested to compare their error rates.

Currently, there exists methods to tackle these issues, for In the experimentation conducted for this paper, two RSS
example sensor fusion provides a way to improve accuracy and techniques were used: scheme a detected the floor by
reliability for collision detection and object avoidance. Two of locating the WAP from which the strongest signal is received,
the proceedings mentioned in this document provide insight and scheme b detected the floor based on the maximum
number of WAPs from each floor detected during a scan.
into sensor fusion techniques, while the third proceeding
Scheme b provided a better error rate than scheme a.
investigates methods to approximate population sizes in
designated areas. The final two documents briefly mention
One barometric pressure technique used a single BP
ways to see through walls using Wi-Fi. By combining the measurement device, initially calibrated on a known floor.
results found from all five documents, a better understanding of Further BP measurements were compared to this baseline
indoor navigation systems emerge as a result. For example, an measurement to determine the current floor. The problem with
autonomous wheelchair inside an airport can use sensor fusion this technique was that weather changes caused the
to better determine its surroundings as well as draw a better measurements to drift over time, as the baseline measurements
conclusion into its current location and crowd counting data can taken at time zero captured only the BP at that exact time. The
be used to improve high traffic areas within said airport and Wi- other technique for BP measurements utilized a pressure
Fi imaging can be used to improve collision avoidance, sensor installed on a reference floor to consistently provide an
tracking, and autonomous navigation. accurate reference for the differential BP measurements. The
problem with this technique is the requirement to install a
II. RESULTS fixed reference sensor which will not be an option in most
A. Sensor Fusion for Floor Detection
Identifying which floor a person is on in a multi-story The novel technique proposed and tested by the authors
building is a promising technology for both emergency fuses RSS values and single BP measurements using a Kalman
Filter to obtain a more accurate and consistent floor detection.

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This method uses RSS as a reference to make adjustments to UrbanCount works by periodically announcing data
the BP measurements and predict drift in the BP comprising all nodes that they have obtained knowledge of
measurements. The error rates of RSS scheme b, single BP, shared nodes and those who have left, therefore, the
and Fusion measurement techniques is shown below in Figure information spreads epidemically throughout the system. By
1. As can be seen in this graph, the error rate of the Fusion utilizing D-GAP compression, (not within the scope of this
technique developed by the authors is much lower than simple report, please reference the original report for more
RSS or BP techniques. information on D-GAP compression) the problem of a linearly
growing bit vector is solved. For example, imagine a crowd
consisting of 10,000 nodes; storing 10,000 consecutive 1s in a
D-GAP vector requires only 14 bits as opposed to 10,000 bits
without any sort of compression.

Accuracy is the performance metric that is evaluated in order

to test UrbanCount. , the accuracy of the test, is measured by
the following calculation where x is the actual global result
and is the local estimate.

=| |

An example of the uses of UrbanCount can be seen in the

City square model in Figure 2. In the city square model, a
node arrives at any one of the four corner nodes, and then
randomly moves throughout the area. Each node then has
chance of leaving the area with probably, p, and has a chance
Fig. 1: Error occurrence comparison of three floor detection of picking a new random location within the square with
techniques probability, p-1.
The Fusion technique developed by the authors is a very
strong and accurate measurement scheme to detect what floor
a person is currently on. One of the best aspects of this
technique is that it utilizes sensors that are readily available in
modern smart phones and does not require the building to
install additional infrastructure. The Fusion technique must be
tested over a longer period of time without access to WAPs to
determine how it functions in that situation. The authors also
aim to achieve location in all three dimensions in the future.

B. Mobile Crowd Counting

Throughout large public areas, crowding is bound to occur.
It is possible to use various estimation techniques in order to
get an accurate guess for the amount of people in one area;
such techniques include the use of observation cameras or
central entities. There are various issues that arise with the use
of external cameras as crowd counting instruments: (i)
requires line of sight, (ii) subject to issues with camera overlap
and changing environmental conditions, (iii) privacy concerns.
The issues related to central entities is that it requires bringing
in external equipment in order to estimate the size of a crowd. Fig. 2: City square mobility model with random waypoint node
One possible way to get around the problems mentioned above movement in the anchor zone
is to use a method that relies on mobile device-to-device
communication. For example, pedestrians could be equipped The results of the testing show that for crowd densities
with mobile devices that would be used for crowd counting below 0.1 nodes/m2 UrbanCount produces an overestimate of
purposes. Questions arise when perusing this method of crowd the crowd and therefore should not be used. For crowd
counting, such as minimum crowd density for accurate crowd densities above 0.1 nodes/m2 UrbanCount is able to accurately
measurement, and what is the accuracy of using this method. estimate the size of the crowd. There is no increase to the
The proposed method for a decentralized, mobile, peer-to-peer accuracy of the measurement by increasing the crowd density
protocol for crowd counting is called UrbanCount. above 0.1 nodes/m2.

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UrbanCount is able to produce local estimates with at least using something like a Kalman Filter, resulting in refined
98% accuracy for synthetic scenarios and at greater than 93% sensor data.
accuracy for realistic mobility scenarios.
The second stage is local data-level fusion unit. This utilizes
Device non-image based recognition can be implemented more than sensor set to each measure the same thing, such as
through using mobile phones to scan the environment for distance. Each set would contain a certain amount of sensors.
discoverable Bluetooth devices in order to analyze crowd For example, one set could contain IR sensors, another set
conditions. A different approach to mobile phone based crowd could contain another group of IR sensors, and another set
counting would be through the implementation of RFID tags could have a camera.
throughout the required area. Further, UrbanCount can be
combined with other crowd counting methods, such as video The third stage, the change detection unit, inspects each
based crowd counting, for increased accuracy. sensor to see if its behavior has changed from its normal
operation. Each sensor of its respective set is assessed to see if
it has deviated too far from the predetermined allowable
C. Multi-sensor, Multi-level Data Fusion and Behavioral
threshold, and if it has, it is found to have a conflict.
analysis based Fault Detection and Isolation in Mobile
The fourth stage, the credibility computation unit, assigns a
The research paper titled Multi-Sensor, Multi-Level Data credibility estimate to each sensor. This determines if the
Fusion and Behavioral Analysis based Fault Detection and sensor is still reliable or not. The credibility of each sensor by
Isolation in Mobile Robots summarizes a fault detection and default is 1. During operation, the credibility of each sensor is
isolation (FDI) method using several sensors geared towards a assessed and subsequently updated. The credibility will
robotic system to operate in a dynamic unpredictable remain the same if the sensor response is within its predicted
environment. The method described by the paper uses sensor fault-free response. If it is not, the credibility will decrease.
fusion and incorporates six stages: pre-processing, local-data
fusion, change detection, credibility computation, decision- The fifth stage, the fault isolation unit, considers the
level information fusion and fault isolation. credibility of each sensor from stage 4, and determines
whether the sensor is faulty or not, depending on how low the
This method uses what is called sensor fusion, which is credibility level is. If the credibility is too low over a given
defined as a subject that uses statistical estimation, signal amount of iterations, the credibility is assigned a 0, indicating
processing, and machine learning. In conjunction with a multi- a fault.
sensor system, which gathers the same information through
multiple sensors, is used as the foundation of the method of The last stage, the decision-level information fusion unit,
this paper. Sensor fusion is a useful in many robotic fuses together the sensor data to come up with a more accurate
applications, such as routing and object detection, as well as and reliable data estimate. Equation (1) of the paper details
FDI, the subject of this paper. how this is done, using the credibility of each sensor in
particular sets.

This method was tested in a simulation that consisted of

three sets of sensors, each with three sensors, where one
sensor in each set has a fault. Referring to figures 3 6 in the
paper for redundant sensors in each set, it can be seen that the
credibility of the sensor with a fault goes down to the point
that the sensor fusion system detects a fault in the sensor.
Figure 7 in the paper uses a camera in one sensor set and IR
sensors in another set. As the camera credibility decreases, the
system detects a fault in the sensor. Through these
simulations, the sensor fusion method works in theory.
Fig. 3: Flowchart for proposed multi-level, multi-sensor FDI
method. In practice, this system is a useful method to implement on
mobile robots that work in highly dynamic areas such as a
The motivation behind this paper is to ensure correct warehouse, or an airport. Specifically looking at an airport, for
identification of a fault in a system, a mobile robot in this say a luggage carrying device or an autonomous wheelchair,
case. With many sensors measuring the same thing, it becomes having reliable sensors to detect distance, collision, etc. is
easier to identify if a sensor is faulted, since they can be critical, and having several sensors measuring the same thing
compared against each other. is ideal because if one sensor fails, there is a backup sensor
that can be used, or multiple backup sensors that can be used.
This method contains the six stages mentioned above, the
first of which is pre-processing. Simply, the data from the
sensor is processed, while suppressing noise and disturbance

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D. Imaging techniques using Wi-Fi By using Wi-Fi signals, it is possible to detect movement
The article titled Holography of Wi-Fi Radiation and the within an enclosed space. An additional feature of the See
report titled See Through Walls with Wi-Fi both present Through Walls with Wi-Fi paper is that human gestures are
insights on how to capture information behind an otherwise able to be determined. These gestures can be used in situations
opaque barrier such as a wall. The basic idea behind where users do not have their current communication devices
Holography of Wi-Fi Radiation is that a moving antenna used on hand. An example of the use of this system would be law
in conjunction with a stationary reference antenna, is able to enforcement officials communicating with others across walls
determine the rough size and shape of an object placed in without the use of audio communication systems.
between a Wi-Fi emitter and the scanning antennae. The
principles behind See Through Walls with Wi-Fi are that it is By using Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR), it is
possible to effectively mask out the background of an area by possible to track moving objects without the use of an antenna
encoding the various transmissions of a MIMO antenna; this array. In Figure 5 below, ISAR is shown to achieve the same
has the effect of capturing only the objects that have moved results as an array of antennae whilst the target is moving.
since the initial MIMO encoding. While the methods of
imaging differ between the two Wi-Fi imaging techniques,
they can both be used to gather information that would
otherwise be impossible to find.

The results of the methods described in Holography of Wi-fi

Radiation can be viewed in Figure 4. Here, in part a) the
algorithm used to enhance shadow contrast is shown, part c)
shows the resulting dark-field image. Part d) shows the
differences in the resulting dark-field image for out of focus
objects. Part e) highlights the results of a simulation of these
techniques for observing an object within a building.

Fig. 5: How One Antenna can be used to Act as an Array of


The results of this method are that it is possible to detect

objects and humans moving behind standard building walls.
Additionally, it is possible to distinguish between 0, 1, 2, and
3 moving humans in a room. Also, single person gesture-based
messages can be decoded at distances equal to or smaller than
5 meters.

In the case of both of the mentioned articles, imaging is able

to be completed while only using a single Wi-Fi channel (i.e.
20MHz bandwidth).

In conclusion, it is found that there are many methods for
autonomous indoor navigation to be improved. By taking a
sensor fusion approach, error in sensor measurements can be
reduced and a more accurate measurement can be made. For
instance, when combining received signal strength from
wireless access points and barometric pressure readings, it is
possible to very accurately determine which floor a person is
currently on. The proposed method of determining crowd sizes,
UrbanCount provides an efficient way to determine crowd
sizes when the density of said crowd is greater than 0.1
nodes/m2. Both simulated and real world results match the
expected response of such a system. The sensor fusion method
that uses fault detection and isolation (FDI) is geared towards
application in mobile robots. This method is an efficient and
effective way to determine if a sensor is functioning properly
within a given system. Simulations of this method provided
acceptable results that can realistically applied to mobile
Fig. 4: Holography of Wi-Fi Radiation in Action

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robotic applications. The results of imaging via Wi-Fi signals

show that it is possible to detect moving objects behind walls
and other solid materials, as well as being able to allow
communication between individuals without the need for a
dedicated communication device.

It is recommended that the methods be further investigated
in order to have a better understanding of their uses in indoor
navigation applications. By utilizing the methods of floor
detection, crowd counting, multi-sensor fault detection, and
Wi-Fi imaging, one can improve accuracy, reliability, and
efficiency of existing indoor navigation systems.


[1] F. Haque, V. Dehghanian and A. O. Fapojuwo, "Sensor

Fusion for Floor Detection," in IEMCON, Vancouver,
BC, Canada, 2017.
[2] A. Abid and M. Tahir Khan, "Multi-sensor, Multi-level
Data Fusion and Behavioral analysis based Fault
Detection and Isolation in Mobile Robots," in IEMCON,
Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2017.
[3] P. Danielis, S. T. Kouyoumdjieva and G. Karlsson,
"UrbanCount: Mobile Crown Counting in Urban
Environments," in IEMCON, Vanouver, BC, Canada,
[4] P. M. Holl and F. Reinhard, "Holography of Wi-fi
Radiation," APS Physics, 2017.
[5] F. Adib, "See Through Walls with Wi-Fi," Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, 2013.

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