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OTDOA Positioning for LTE Cat-M

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is believed to connect tens of billion devices by the year 2020 making it one of the key drivers for the semi-conductor industry. Thereby, a major part of the IoT will consist of moving devices such as unmanned cars or drones. For these kinds of applications the knowledge of the current location is essential.

Solely relying on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS is insufficient: In urban areas buildings block the line-of-sight between satellite and receiver making the location estimation very inaccurate. In indoor environments satellite-based positioning completely fails. Furthermore, GNSS receivers are very power-hungry which is not suitable for most of IoT applications. The 3GPP consortium responded to this need by enhancing its 4G communication standard (LTE) with positioning capabilities.

In the adopted Observed Time Difference of Arrival (OTDOA) algorithm the base stations transmit so-called Positioning Reference Signals (PRS). The User Equipment (UE) detects the time difference of arrival of the PRS for pairs of base stations. With the knowledge of the base stations’ exact positions it is possible to estimate the position of the device itself.

Project Description

The goal of this project is the implementation of an efficient and accurate TDOA measurment scheme for the LTE Cat-M modem being developed in our group. The algorithm should take advantage of all available PRS while keeping computational complexity low. In a first step the algorithm will be implemented and evaluated using a Matlab simulation framework. It will then be ported to an FPGA based evaluation testbed as a combination of embedded C software and dedicated hardware implementation. Ideally the resources already available on the platform should be used but if needed dedicated hardware blocks can be deisgned and integrated into the system. If time allows the performance of the implementation will be verified with measurements on the testbed.

Status: Available

Looking for 1-2 Master/Semester student
Contact: Mauro Salomon


Interest in wireless communications
Knowledge in Matlab, C and/or VHDL is of advantage


40% Theory, Algorithms, and Simulation
40% Hardware/Software Co-Design (Programming in HDL and C)
20% Realization of FPGA Testbed


Qiuting Huang

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