Halim Lee and Jiwon Seo, Yonsei University

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This study investigates unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) trajectory planning strategies for localizing a target mobile device in emergency situations. The global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based accurate position information of a target mobile device in an emergency may not be always available to first responders. For example, 1) GNSS positioning accuracy may be degraded in harsh signal environments and 2) in countries where emergency positioning service is not mandatory, some mobile devices may not report their locations. Under the cases mentioned above, one way to find the target mobile device is to use UAVs. Dispatched UAVs may search the target directly on the emergency site by measuring the strength of the signal (e.g., LTE wireless communication signal) from the target mobile device. To accurately localize the target mobile device in the shortest time possible, UAVs should fly in the most efficient way possible. The two popular trajectory optimization strategies of UAVs are greedy and predictive approaches. However, the research on localization performances of the two approaches has been evaluated only under favorable settings (i.e., under good UAV geometries and small received signal strength (RSS) errors); more realistic scenarios still remain unexplored. In this study, we compare the localization performance of the greedy and predictive approaches under realistic RSS errors (i.e., up to 6 dB according to the ITU-R channel model). From the simulation result, the greedy approach performs better in reducing the localization error at the initial stage of the search; however, the predictive approach performs better once the localization error converges to a certain value. Based on these observations, we propose a hybrid application involving both the approaches. The performance of the proposed hybrid approach was evaluated under less diverse UAV geometries and realistic RSS errors. During simulation tests, the hybrid approach showed localization accuracy improvements of 30.8% and 55.0% over the greedy-only and predictive-only approaches, respectively.