Silent positioning in underwater acoustic sensor networks

Xiuzhen Cheng, Haining Shu, Qilian Liang, David Hung Chang Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present a silent positioning scheme termed UPS for underwater acoustic sensor networks. UPS relies on the time difference of arrivals locally measured at a sensor to detect range differences from the sensor to four anchor nodes. These range differences are averaged over multiple beacon intervals before they are combined to estimate the 3-D sensor location through trilateration. UPS requires no time synchronization and provides location privacy at underwater vehicles/sensors whose locations need to be determined. To study the performance of UPS, we model the underwater acoustic channel as a modified ultrawideband Saleh-Valenzuela model: The arrival of each path cluster and the paths within each cluster follow double Poisson distributions, and the multipath channel gain follows a Rician distribution. Based on this channel model, we perform both theoretical analysis and simulation study on the position error of UPS under acoustic fading channels. The obtained results indicate that UPS is an effective scheme for underwater vehicle/sensor self-positioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1756-1766
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received March 25, 2007; revised July 26, 2007 and September 13, 2007. The work of X. Cheng was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants CNS-0347674 and CNS-0721669. The work of H. Shu and Q. Liang was supported in part by the NSF under Grant CNS-0721515 and in part by the Office of Naval Research under Grants N00014-07-1-0395 and N00014-07-1-1024. The review of this paper was coordinated by Prof. X. Shen.


  • Localization
  • Navigation
  • Ultrawideband (UWB) Saleh-Valenzuela (S-V) model
  • UnderWater Acoustic Sensor Networks (UWA-SNs)
  • Underwater Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Underwater positioning


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