This paper describes the development and implementation of a robust high-accuracy ultrasonic indoor positioning system (UIPS). The UIPS consists of several wireless ultrasonic beacons in the indoor environment. Each of them has a fixed and known position coordinate and can collect all the transmissions from the target node or emit ultrasonic signals. Every wireless sensor network (WSN) node has two communication modules: one is WiFi, that transmits the data to the server, and the other is the radio frequency (RF) module, which is only used for time synchronization between different nodes, with accuracy up to 1 μs. The distance between the beacon and the target node is calculated by measuring the time-of-flight (TOF) for the ultrasonic signal, and then the position of the target is computed by some distances and the coordinate of the beacons. TOF estimation is the most important technique in the UIPS. A new time domain method to extract the envelope of the ultrasonic signals is presented in order to estimate the TOF. This method, with the envelope detection filter, estimates the value with the sampled values on both sides based on the least squares method (LSM). The simulation results show that the method can achieve envelope detection with a good filtering effect by means of the LSM. The highest precision and variance can reach
0.23 mm, respectively, in pseudo-range measurements with UIPS. A maximum location error of
mm is achieved in the positioning experiments for a moving robot, when UIPS works on the line-of-sight (LOS) signal.
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