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Indoor hybrid navigation system 
using ultra-wideband technology

Indoor location tracking is becoming increasingly important in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, logistics, and retail. Accurate location tracking can improve workflow efficiency, reduce errors, and enhance customer experience.

However, traditional indoor location systems using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology are limited by their accuracy and reliability. Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology offers a solution to this problem, providing precise and reliable indoor location tracking. 

UWB technology uses low-power radio waves to transmit data over a wide frequency range, enabling it to accurately measure the distance between two devices. This allows UWB systems to determine the location of a device within a few centimeters, making it ideal for indoor location tracking. One of the precise indoor location systems using UWB technology is the hybrid navigation system by CBRTI Sp. z o.o. 

The hybrid navigation system uses UWB technology to determine the location of a device called a tag, which is attached to an object or person. The system also includes anchors, which are fixed devices that transmit signals to the tags. The tags use the signals from the anchors to determine their precise location. The system can be used in a wide range of applications, from tracking medical equipment in hospitals to optimizing warehouse operations. In healthcare, the system can help ensure that medical equipment is always in the right place and is easily accessible when needed. In logistics, the system can track the location of goods and personnel, improving workflow efficiency and reducing errors. The system can be also used in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to retail. In manufacturing, the system can track the location of tools and equipment, improving workflow efficiency and reducing downtime. In retail, the system can track the location of products and personnel, improving customer experience and optimizing store layouts. 

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One of the key benefits of UWB technology is its ability to operate in complex indoor environments. UWB signals can penetrate walls and floors, making it possible to track the location of objects and personnel in multi-story buildings. UWB technology is also immune to interference from other wireless signals, ensuring reliable and accurate location tracking based on ToF. The ToF (Time of Flight) distance measurement method is based on determining the time of flight of a frame between the transmitting and receiving device. Knowing the transmission time and the speed at which the radio waves travel (speed of light), it is possible to determine the distance with a high degree of accuracy. This method allows multiple objects to be tracked simultaneously and it is characterized by high precision in determining the distance between transmitter and receiver. The high measurement accuracy makes it possible to determine the location of people and objects in the monitored room. Our hybrid navigation system operates in less than 10 ms. The very precise determination of the distance continuously results in higher power consumption. The following assumptions were made in the design of the anchor electrical scheme: small size, power supply and data transmission via PoE, anchor configuration via Bluetooth protocol. The use of UWB technology is enabled by the DW1000 module, which was configured via the SPI (serial peripheral interface) bus. The device’s main microcontroller is the STM32F7 microcontroller, which was responsible for communicating with an external server using the Ethernet standard and controlling the UWB module. The configuration of basic parameters such as the device name was done by the NRF52832 microcontroller with the Bluetooth wireless communication module. All circuits present on the board were powered by a DC/DC converter, which reduces the voltage supplied from the PoE power supply. The PoE power supplies provide a voltage range of 12 to 52 VDC, so the converter had to be adapted to this voltage range. The used converter was non-isolated to reduce the size of the PCB. In the case of locating single objects in a small space, RSSI-based localization might be suitable due to its low energy consumption. However, in the case of locating multiple objects in a large space, the ToF-based localization method becomes the most optimal, especially when the localized objects are close to each other. 

The precise indoor location systems using UWB technology offer a reliable and accurate solution for a wide range of industries. These systems can improve workflow efficiency, reduce errors, enhance customer experience, and provide highly accurate and reliable location tracking in complex indoor environments. As UWB technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more applications of precise indoor location tracking in the future. The hybrid navigation system by CBRTI can help optimize workflow efficiency by providing real-time location data of assets, personnel, and equipment. This enables organizations to monitor and streamline operations, reducing bottlenecks and improving productivity. Moreover, the system by CBRTI based on UWB technology is a cost-effective solution for indoor location tracking compared to other technologies such as infrared or ultrasound. UWB systems require fewer infrastructure components, reducing the overall cost of deployment and offering numerous benefits to a wide range of entities operating in various industries.  

CBRTI Sp. z o. o. is a Poland-based company conducting advanced research and development work focused on creating new solutions in the field of wireless detection, identification and navigation systems. The company offers a number of innovative products that can help enterprises automate their business processes, increase work efficiency and improve security. 

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