Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 August 2013
This paper proposes a localization scheme using ultrasonic beacons in an unstructured multi-block workspace. Indoor localization schemes using ultrasonic sensors have widely been studied due to their low costs and high accuracies. However, ultrasonic sensors are susceptible to environmental noise due to the propagation characteristics of ultrasonic waves. In addition, the decay of ultrasonic signals over long distances implies that ultrasonic sensors are unsuitable for use in large indoor environments. To overcome these shortcomings of ultrasonic sensors, while retaining their advantages, a multi-block approach was devised by dividing an indoor space into several blocks with multiple beacons in each block. However, it is difficult to divide an indoor space into several blocks when beacons cannot be installed in a regular manner or when some new beacons are installed. To resolve this difficulty, a dynamic algorithm is needed to divide an indoor space into multiple blocks and to select suitable beacons. Therefore, this paper proposes a real-time localization scheme to estimate the position of a mobile robot independent of beacon locations and to estimate the position of a new beacon installed at an unknown position. A beacon selection algorithm was developed to select optimal beacons according to robot position and to set up sets of beacons for mobile robot navigation. By using the new beacon searching and calibration algorithm, a mobile robot is able to navigate in an unknown space without requiring the additional setup time needed to install new beacons. The performance of the proposed localization system was verified using real experiments.