Passive target localization using a geometric approach to the time-difference-of-arrival method


  1. Wong, S.
  2. Jassemi-Zargani, R.
  3. Brookes, D.
  4. Kim, B.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Research Centre, Ottawa ON (CAN)
Passive sensing offers a viable and effective means of detecting and geolocating small flying targets such as micro- and nano-drones by exploiting their radio-frequency signal emissions. Target location using the time-difference-of-arrival (TDOA) method is investigated. For target localization in three-dimensional space, a set of three non-linear TDOA equations is required. Each equation contains a TDOA measurement processed from signals detected by a pair of receivers. A system of four receivers is needed to generate three independent TDOA measurements. The solution to each TDOA equation is represented by a hyperboloid surface. The intersection of three hyperboloid surfaces is then computed to determine the target location. This geometric approach to solving the TDOA problem is taken in this study. The target localization problem is analyzed by examining the effect of TDOA measurement errors on the localization accuracy. The errors are modelled by the Cramer-Rao Lower Bound estimate in processing the signals through a cross-correlator. Results indicate that the accuracy in three-dimensional target localization is dependent on not only the TDOA measurement errors, but also on the receiver system geometry. It is found that four receivers in a non-coplanar geometry configuration offer the best three-dimensional localization accuracy. Localization of multiple targets is also investigated. Accurate localization results for up to ten moving targets have been obtained by applying t

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Intelligence;Surveillance and Reconnaissance;signal processing;counter-measures;passive detection and tracking;target localization
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2017-R079 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Jun 2017
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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