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Title: Localisation of underwater sensor nodes in confined spaces
Author: Pottinger, Mark Gerard
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 5554
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of the project is to explore 3D localisation of a sensor “pill”, contained in an enclosed vessel, using multiple acoustic transducers mounted on the pill‟s surface. The thesis suggests strategies for placement, excitation and synchronisation of the transmitters on the pill and receivers on the vessel wall to deliver 3D localisation. Motivation for the project has emerged from the desire to develop wireless sensor networks to monitor the internals of industrial processes. A major challenge relates to the ability to accurately determine the location of the pill within the vessel, in the presence of multipath reflections. The main challenges relate to the determination of suitable transmission methodologies and synchronisation strategies to allow accurate localisation. The pill has to be a finite size in order to contain the required sensor hardware and transducers must be mounted on the surface of the pill such that signals are able to propagate directly to receivers on the vessel wall. This presents challenges in optimising the transmitter and receiver layout to maximise signal strength and also to determine how the separation of multiple transmitters on the pill impacts localisation accuracy. Time-Difference-of-Arrival (TDOA) has been investigated as a localisation technique, with simulations revealing that the separation of transmitters on the pill influences the accuracy. By modifying the standard TDOA equations with offset knowledge it has been demonstrated, in simulation, that this error can be reduced and by uniquely coding transmitters it is possible to resolve rotation of the pill in the vessel allowing further reduction in localisation error. Simulations have investigated how the location of receivers on the vessel wall influences the localisation error when the TDOA values are compromised by noise. It has been demonstrated that by mounting receivers at the extremities of the vessel the localisation error of the pill can be reduced. Work has also been undertaken to characterise both the vessel reflection properties and also the transmitter beam profile to allow a suitable transmitter layout on the pill to be determined. Simulations, supported by experimental results, have shown that a curved vessel surface can focus the reflected signals and therefore compromise peak detection signal methodologies. As a result amplitude thresholding is suggested for detecting received signals. The research is substantiated with a simple demonstrator that suggests, for both Time-of-Flight (TOF) and Time-Difference-of-Arrival techniques, that the location of the pill can be determined with an accuracy of ± 5 cm throughout a 250 litre vessel. This is the first time that underwater localisation in a confined space using multiple transmitters on the surface of a sensor “pill” has been reported.
Supervisor: York, Trevor Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: underwater localisation ; confined spaces ; acoustics ; reflections ; transmitter array ; sensor node