Innovative Approach to Location Based Services

Team Members:

Malhar Chaudhari, Sarvesh Patkar, Virag Doshi, Moumita Dey

Synopsis:

Innovative Approach to Location based services and Traffic Management System, is an alternative to the Global Positioning System (GPS), which provides navigation services as well as traffic regulation, which in turn would prove to be a massive help to the traffic controlling authorities. This project was designed keeping in mind the shortcomings of GPS, and by incorporating some additional features, such as, positioning and navigation using offline maps, and vehicle tracking, makes it a multipurpose standalone device.

Video : Project Demo

Video: On Field Demo

Some of the limitations of GPS that have been explored in this project are:

  • The first limitation with GPS is the process of locating the satellites, receiving the data and achieving a position fix, which can take several minutes. This delay is problematic for many critical applications, especially during driving if there is a break in link due to poor signal. Our project uses the durable on ground RF beacons which gives highly reliable service and faster speed of response.
  • Another problem with GPS is that the receiver needs a clear view of the sky to successfully receive signals from the satellites. Thus the GPS would fail in navigating in cities having large skyscrapers. This is not the case with the RF beacons used in this project which can have a strong signal at distances of tens of feet’s with obstacles between the receiver and beacon.
  • Civilian GPS signal is limited by low accuracy in identifying position. This limited accuracy can be a problem in navigating in urban areas. Our project can be used in such areas requiring high accuracy and can give current location within 10 -15 feet accuracy.

The project also has an emergency service feature which routes the driver to the nearest hospital and also sends an emergency SMS with the vehicle’s location details to the paramedics. This is a feature currently not available integrated with vehicular navigation system. This device has been designed with the aim of making implementation of various additional services easier.

Technical Description:

 

RF Positioning System-Top Level Block Diagram

Fig: Block diagram of the system

Our project uses a network of Radio Frequency based beacons to form the navigation system’s backbone architecture. The user can find the route to a particular location from his current location which is also plotted on the map. Another feature of the project is to dynamically update this route in case the user takes a wrong turn. The device is equipped with a GSM module which can be used to send an SMS to the nearest hospital in case of an emergency, either requested by the user himself, or from the feedback from the emergency vehicle sensors. This same module can be used for tracking down a device, with a simple command sent to the receiver module from the user’s phone. This feature is of particular importance to traffic authorities to also track down vehicles in case of theft. Although the device currently uses a GSM module to achieve this functionality, it can be further extended to use the backbone network consisting of RF beacons to achieve this functionality. The project is currently in prototype stage to which more features can be added.

This system is completely within the control of the concerned law and order authority which allows it to build various customizations in the system as well as have data security features.

The main components of this system are:

  1. Backbone Network Architecture of RF Beacons These beacons would provide the location ID to identify the current location. Also other real time data as required by the application and the particular traffic regulation data would be provided by them.
  2. Receiver Device: This device would be fitted in the car, and would contain a RF receiver to communicate with the beacons. It also has a LCD display to display the maps which are stored in a mass storage device (SD card). The LCD used in the display also has a touchscreen which makes interacting with the GUI easier. The device is equipped with a GSM Module to communicate with the external world.

Applications:

Towards the end of this project, we realised the true potential of this project lied more in the following type of applications:

  • Navigation in closed spaces, like campus, big malls other such spaces featuring closed spaces and tight navigation limitations, our system could present a higher resolution navigation support. Moreover the device could be replaced with a smart phone connected to an inexpensive RF receiver, which would help users in navigation. This system could be a boon to deaf-blind users.
  • Positioning, Navigation and Emergency Assistance for National Park Trails
  • Emergency Service Assistance, Positioning and Navigation for Mines
  • Positioning Services for Public Transport Buses

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