Joint Communication and Positioning based on Channel Estimation
Mobile wireless communication systems have rapidly and globally become an integral part of everyday life and have brought forth the internet of things. With the evolution of mobile wireless communication systems, joint communication and positioning becomes increasingly important and enables a growing range of new applications. Humanity has already grown used to having access to multimedia data everywhere at every time and thereby employing all sorts of location-based services. Global navigation satellite systems can provide highly accurate positioning results whenever a line-of-sight path is available. Unfortunately, harsh physical environments are known to degrade the performance of existing systems. Therefore, ground-based systems can assist the existing position estimation gained by satellite systems. Determining positioning-relevant information from a unified signal structure designed for a ground-based joint communication and positioning system can either complement existing systems or substitute them. Such a system framework promises to enhance the existing systems by enabling a highly accurate and reliable positioning performance and increased coverage. Furthermore, the unified signal structure yields synergetic effects. In this thesis, I propose a channel estimation-based joint communication and positioning system that employs a virtual training matrix. This matrix consists of a relatively small training percentage, plus the detected communication data itself. Via a core semi- blind estimation approach, this iteratively includes the already detected data to accurately determine the positioning-relevant parameter, by mutually exchanging information between the communication part and the positioning part of the receiver. Synergy is created. I propose a generalized system framework, suitable to be used in conjunction with various communication system techniques. The most critical positioning-relevant parameter, the time-of-arrival, is part of a physical multipath parameter vector. Estimating the time-of-arrival, therefore, means solving a global, non-linear, multi-dimensional optimization problem. More precisely, it means solving the so-called inverse problem. I thoroughly assess various problem formulations and variations thereof, including several different measurements and estimation algorithms. A significant challenge, when it comes to solving the inverse problem to determine the positioning-relevant path parameters, is imposed by realistic multipath channels. Most parameter estimation algorithms have proven to perform well in moderate multipath environments. It is mathematically straightforward to optimize this performance in the sense that the number of observations has to exceed the number of parameters to be estimated. The typical parameter estimation problem, on the other hand, is based on channel estimates, and it assumes that so-called snapshot measurements are available. In the case of realistic channel models, however, the number of observations does not necessarily exceed the number of unknowns. In this thesis, I overcome this problem, proposing a method to reduce the problem dimensionality via joint model order selection and parameter estimation. Employing the approximated and estimated parameter covariance matrix inherently constrains the estimation problem’s model order selection to result in optimal parameter estimation performance and hence optimal positioning performance. To compare these results with the optimally achievable solution, I introduce a focused order-related lower bound in this thesis. Additionally, I use soft information as a weighting matrix to enhance the positioning algorithm positioning performance. For demonstrating the feasibility and the interplay of the proposed system components, I utilize a prototype system, based on multi-layer interleave division multiple access. This proposed system framework and the investigated techniques can be employed for multiple existing systems or build the basis for future joint communication and positioning systems. The assessed estimation algorithms are transferrable to all kinds of joint communication and positioning system designs. This thesis demonstrates their capability to, in principle, successfully cope with challenging estimation problems stemming from harsh physical environments.