The paper addresses the problem of localization based on hybrid received signal strength (RSS) and time of arrival (TOA) measurements, in the presence of synchronization errors among all the nodes in a wireless network, and assuming all parameters are unknown. In most existing schemes, in fact, knowledge of the model parameters is postulated to reduce the high dimensionality of the cost functions involved in the position estimation process. However, such parameters depend on the operational wireless context, and change over time due to the presence of dynamic obstacles and other modification of the environment. Therefore, they should be adaptively estimated “on the field”, with a procedure that must be as simple as possible in order to suit multiple real-time re-calibrations, even in low-cost applications, without requiring human intervention. Unfortunately, the joint maximum likelihood (ML) position estimator for this problem does not admit a closed-form solution, and numerical optimization is practically unfeasible due to the large number of nuisance parameters. To circumvent such issues, a novel two-step algorithm with reduced complexity is proposed: A first calibration phase exploits nodes in known positions to estimate the unknown RSS and TOA model parameters; then, in a second localization step, an hybrid TOA/RSS range estimator is combined with an iterative least-squares procedure to finally estimate the unknown target position. The results show that the proposed hybrid TOA/RSS localization approach outperformed state-of-the-art competitors and, remarkably, achieved almost the same accuracy of the joint ML benchmark but with a significantly lower computational cost.
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