Detection and Tracking using Wireless Networks

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Accessible communications are becoming an important part of most people's everyday life. Both business and private users increasingly expect to be able to contact people and get information from any location, not just while at the office or workplace. The incredible success of the mobile phone has further increased the expectations of users in this area. To cater for this demand, a new generation of connectivity possibilities based on wireless local area networks (LAN's) named Wi-Fi is being established.Wi-Fi, or Wireless Fidelity allows you to connect to the Internet from your chair at home, a bed in a hotel room or a conference room at work without wires. Wi-Fi is a wireless technology like a cell phone. Wi-Fi enabled computers send and receive data indoors and out; anywhere within the range of a base station. It's several times faster than the fastest cable modem connection and is rapidly being installed in many locations, such as corporate facilities, in airports, hotels, coffee shops and other public areas equipped with Wi-Fi access. Wireless networking is expanding to longer range outdoor systems as well via WiMax. Wi-Fi and WiMax are based upon an Industry standard technology known as IEEE 802. This is relatively easy and inexpensive to implement and is being widely deployed in many public areas and commercial settings. It has been estimated that over 30 million Wi-Fi cards would ship in 2004 illustrating the impressive rate of growth of this technology. Wireless LAN transmissions can thus be viewed as a future, widely available local area signal. Apart from the communications aspect, these signals have the potential to be used for other purposes. Particularly of interest is the possibility of detecting objects and people using the principles of Radar. In conventional Radar pulses are transmitted and received by the same equipment. In its simplest form this allows the user to detect whether a target is present and how far away from the radar it is by the time delay before the pulse is returned. IF the transmitter and receiver are separated then the processing is slightly more complex but the basic principles still apply. Using wireless LAN transmissions for this purpose could lead to the development of a surveillance capability from a ubiquitous and accessible source. All the transmissions would already be available and a relatively simple receiver system could be designed to carry out this task. There are, of course, many problems to be overcome in applying these relatively simple principles in a real world situation. The proposed full research programme will examine the problems in the context of these initial results and aim to demonstrate that a surveillance system based on wireless networks is a viable alternative and addition to existing systems. The integration of this technique with one existing system (video camera) will also be examined. Such a combination could provide a powerful tool to detect for example anomalous or suspicious behaviour. UCl have already started an initial feasibility study of the technique with promising results and basic target detection capability has already been established. This project addresses a completely new area. Successful development of this technology would result in a major advance in local area detection. Such a system would complement ongoing research into other local area detection techniques such as those using mobile phone systems and RFID tagging. This technique could be used for many purposes including improving internal and external security in private and public areas and identification and tracking of goods and people. Particular applications could be in crime reduction, terrorist threat mitigation and stolen goods detection and tracking.


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Description The project has shown the feasibility of using wireless based passive detection in both indoor and outdoor scenarios. Many novel results have been achieved including the first published work on detection of single and multiple human targets using passive wireless surveillance and a first demonstration of a through wall detection capability. The range and Doppler characteristics of the system have been investigated in depth for a wide range of real transmitted WiFi and WiMAX signals.

A prototype hardware system utilising a 2.4 Ghz radar receiver has been developed and tested in a large number of field trials. Off-line software processing has been developed to carry out the cross-correlation procedures needed to identify targets. Algorithms to reduce the effects of DSI and to speed up data processing times have also been developed.

The technique has also been tested against a real maritime operational scenario with promising results.

Key challenges of using this technology have also been identified especially DSI suppression and real time cross-correlation signal processing methods.

All the main objectives of the programme have been achieved and commercialisation opportunities have also been investigated. This work should act as a good springboard to further development of this technology and put the UK in a pole position to exploit this technique by utilising the upcoming widespread deployment of 4G networks.
Exploitation Route This work should act as a good springboard to further development of this technology and put the UK in a pole position to exploit this technique by utilising the upcoming widespread deployment of 4G networks.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Retail,Transport

Description A full demonstrator prototype passive wireless demonstrator system has been developed from the basis of this work. The system has been demonstrated to a number of Industrial companies and Government agencies. Applications in Security, Healthcare and mobile device control are being followed up.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Description Era Technology Ltd 
Organisation Era Technology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007