Time-difference-of-arrival target localization processing in real time


  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 RF-sensing exploiting Radio-Frequency (RF) signal emitted by targets offers a viable and effective means of detecting and geolocating small flying targets such as drones. Time-Difference-Of-Arrival (TDOA) provides a means to process the detected RF signals to locate targets in three-dimensional space. A set of three TDOA equations is solved to obtain the unknown target’s coordinates (x,y,z) in three dimensions. The solution to each TDOA equation is represented by a geometric surface known as a hyperboloid. The intersection of three hyperboloid surfaces is computed to determine the target’s location. This geometric approach offers a simple and physically intuitive way of solving the set of TDOA equations, and has been investigated in a previous study. However, this geometric approach may not be able to determine the location of the target in real-time (i.e., under one second). The computational speed is directly linked to the size of the hyperboloid surfaces required to cover the surveillance area of interest. This presents a challenge in computing time usage. In this report, a partial hyperboloid method is introduced and an algorithmic procedure is developed, utilizing only partial hyperboloid surfaces around the unknown target’s location are utilized. This allows real-time target localization to be realized. Results have indicated that this method has improved the computational speed by about 29 times comparing to using a set of full hyperboloids in solving the

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EW Modelling and Simulation (EW M&S)
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2019-R095 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Jun 2019
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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