Simultaneous localization of multiple unknown and transient radio sources using a mobile robot

Dezhen Song, Chang Young Kim, Jingang Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We report system and algorithm developments that utilize a single mobile robot to simultaneously localize multiple unknown transient radio sources. Because of signal source anonymity, short transmission durations, and dynamic transmission patterns, the robot cannot treat the radio sources as continuous radio beacons. To deal with this challenging localization problem, we model the radio source behaviors using a novel spatiotemporal probability occupancy grid that captures transient characteristics of radio transmissions and tracks posterior probability distributions of radio sources. As a Monte Carlo method, a ridge walking motion planning algorithm is proposed to enable the robot to efficiently traverse the high-probability regions to accelerate the convergence of the posterior probability distribution. We also formally show that the time to find a radio source is insensitive to the number of radio sources, and hence, our algorithm has great scalability. We have implemented the algorithms and extensively tested them in comparison with two heuristic methods: a random walk and a fixed-route patrol. The localization time of our algorithms is consistently shorter than that of the two heuristic methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6145760
Pages (from-to)668-680
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Localization
  • networked robots
  • wireless sensor network


Dive into the research topics of 'Simultaneous localization of multiple unknown and transient radio sources using a mobile robot'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this