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Tracking Objects with Networked Scattered Directional Sensors


We study the problem of object tracking using highly directional sensors—sensors whose field of vision is a line or a line segment. A network of such sensors monitors a certain region of the plane. Sporadically, objects moving in straight lines and at a constant speed cross the region. A sensor detects an object when it crosses its line of sight, and records the time of the detection. No distance or angle measurements are available. The task of the sensors is to estimate the directions and speeds of the objects, and the sensor lines, which are unknown a priori. This estimation problem involves the minimization of a highly nonconvex cost function. To overcome this difficulty, we introduce an algorithm, which we call "adaptive basis algorithm." This algorithm is divided into three phases: in the first phase, the algorithm is initialized using data from six sensors and four objects; in the second phase, the estimates are updated as data from more sensors and objects are incorporated. The third phase is an optional coordinated transformation. The estimation is done in an "ad-hoc" coordinate system, which we call "adaptive coordinate system." When more information is available, for example, the location of six sensors, the estimates can be transformed to the "real-world" coordinate system. This constitutes the third phase.

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Correspondence to P. R. Kumar.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Plarre, K., Kumar, P.R. Tracking Objects with Networked Scattered Directional Sensors. EURASIP J. Adv. Signal Process. 2008, 360912 (2007).

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