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IET Wireless Sensor Systems

Research Article

Robust Kalman filter-based decentralised ISSN 2043-6386

Received on 3rd May 2017
Revised 28th September 2017
target search and prediction with topology Accepted on 3rd November 2017
E-First on 4th January 2018
maps doi: 10.1049/iet-wss.2017.0039

Ashanie Guanathillake1,2 , Andrey V. Savkin1, Anura P. Jayasumana3

1School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunication, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2Data61|CSIRO, Eveleigh, NSW 2015, Australia
3Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

E-mail: ashanie@student.unsw.edu.au

Abstract: A novel distributed approach for searching and tracking of targets is presented for sensor network environments in
which physical distance measurement using techniques such as signal strength is not feasible. The solution consists of a robust
Kalman filter combined with a non-linear least-square method, and maximum likelihood topology maps. The primary input for
estimating target location and direction of motion is provided by time stamps recorded by the sensor nodes when the target is
detected within their sensing range. An autonomous robot following the target collects this information from sensors in its
neighbourhood to determine its own path in search of the target. While the maximum likelihood topology coordinate space is a
robust alternative to physical coordinates, it contains significant non-linear distortions when compared with physical distances
between nodes. The authors overcome this using time stamps corresponding to target detection by nodes instead of relying on
distances. The performance of the proposed algorithm is compared with recently proposed pseudo gradient algorithm based on
hop count and received signal strength. Even though the proposed algorithm does not depend on distance measurements, the
results show that it is able to track the target effectively even when the target changes its moving pattern frequently.

 Nomenclature centralised computing resources [3, 4]. Our focus is on applications

that use sensor networks to monitor details of an environment,
N number of sensor nodes in the network track a target therein, and follow or rendezvous with the target with
si sensor node i a device such as an autonomous robot or even a person carrying a
[xi, yi] topology coordinates of node i mobile sensor node [5]. Vital requirements for such applications
Mn × N packet receiving binary matrix include real-time decision making related to the trajectory of a
S(di j) packet reception probability value when the target, i.e. its current location, movement and future locations, as
distance is di j well as tracking the target.
Pi(xi, yi) probability of obtaining receiving vector when Much of the work on target tracking using WSNs rely on
si is located in (xi, yi) location accurate localisation information, specifically the physical
Lt0 initial target location coordinates of the nodes as well as the ability to measure the
distance from sensor nodes to the target [6–8]. However,
Lti = [Xti, Y ti] target location at time ti
localisation of sensor nodes and distance estimation using
Lai = [Xai, Y ai] robot location at time ti strategies such as receiver signal strength measurement or time
Lt j(k) the calculated target location at tk with delay is not feasible in many complex and harsh environments [3].
available information at t j( > tk) Thus, novel coordinate systems have emerged that do not rely on
St set of nodes detect the target initially distance estimations in place of physical (geographical) coordinates
Nt = | St| number of nodes detects the target initially [9, 10]. Topology maps [10], which we rely on in this paper, are an
Vt speed of the target alternative to physical maps but with the distances among nodes
significantly distorted. While such coordinate systems have been
Va speed of the autonomous robot
used extensively for sensor networking protocols such as routing
Nai set of local neighbours of robot at time i and placement, they have found only limited traction for target
t set of time instances of sensor node i captured
Zsij tracking due to the fact that such systems do not provide accurate
the target until time t j physical information such as position and velocity. Although they
Gai = {G1, …, G8} grid points at time ti can be easily and accurately generated, use of such topology
Gi = [XGi, Y Gi] topology coordinates of grid point Gi where coordinates require overcoming significant non-linear distortions
i = 1, …, 8 between the physical coordinate space and topology coordinate
SVa + ε set of nodes in V a + ε neighbourhood of space. Our approach overcomes the non-linear distance distortions
in topology coordinate space compared to physical coordinates
autonomous robot at time ti
using robust Kalman filtering. However, robust Kalman filter
(RKF)-based target tracking algorithms [11, 12] require centralised
1 Introduction operation, i.e. an environment where all the information is
Decentralised target search is an important task in many wireless processed in a centralised location. As indicated above, distributed
sensor network (WSN) applications, e.g. search and rescue, solutions possess many advantages over centralised solutions in
surveillance and military operations [1, 2]. Decentralised WSN-based environments, thus we develop a distributed approach.
algorithms possess many advantages in ad hoc WSN environments, This paper presents a novel algorithm, decentralised target
which are susceptible to high link/node failures, uncertainty search based on RKF and behaviour formula extraction (DeTarSK),
associated with multi-hop packet delivery, and inaccessibility to to track and predict target locations in an environment where
accurate physical distance estimation is not feasible. Instead of

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using physical coordinates and distances, DeTarSK relies on partitioned into interconnected regions. The search path problem is
maximum likelihood topology coordinates [10] and corresponding modelled as a discrete search that concerns both cell connectivity
distances. The algorithm uses RKF uncertain mobility model in a and transmit time. The extended tracking approach for an ultra-
distributed manner to filter the error calculated in target's previous wideband indoor sensor network proposed in [25] is based on a
locations. Then, it predicts the movement, direction and the future Bernouli filter and considers the uncertainties of data association,
locations of the target, using an approach in which RKF is target measurement rate, detection and noise. A real-time algorithm
combined with non-linear least-square method [13]. The paper based on a probabilistic version of a local search with estimated
considers the scenario of an autonomous robot searching and global distance is presented in [7], which has as inputs the initial
tracking the target using DeTarSK by communicating with sensors target location probabilities and the transition matrix for possible
within its communication range. moves of target. The decision making at each step of this search
The search considered in this paper is discrete. The robot search applies probabilistic distance estimation to find the path trajectory
is performed on an n × n grid, and its next available location is a of the agent that minimises the average number of search steps.
function of its current location. Also, the target's movement is A learning real-time A* algorithm for a static target was
independent of the robot's movement and can take any form. The proposed in [26] and for a moving target in [27]. Information
autonomous robot calculates the target detection points from the moving target search algorithm [28] has enhanced the MTS
time stamp sets received from sensors in its locality. These time algorithm with informational distance measures based Rokhlin
stamp sets describe the times at which certain node(s) detected the metric and Ornstein metric, which give the necessary distance
target in its vicinity. A major challenge is that the gathered measures.
information is not current, i.e. the information gathered from a Locating stationary target in an ultra-wideband network using
region may be the target's past locations and moving directions, but time of arrival parameter is proposed in [29]. Also, Wang et al. [8]
not their current values. Also, the received information about the proposed an algorithm to locate a single static target using Kalman
target's past behavior may not be accurate. However, this is the filter and a least-squares algorithm. This algorithm is based on a
information that is available for predicting target's location. distance model and an angel model. Dong et al. [30] proposed a
Therefore, our objective is to predict the target's current location mobility tracking algorithm for cellular network that uses received
and calculate the shortest path to catch the target using the signal strength indicator (RSSI) measurements and velocity metrix.
available information in real time. The main contributions of this Moreover, Mahfouz et al. [31] propose a moving target tracking
paper are: (i) a decentralised target-search algorithm, (ii) use of method based on RSSI models and a Kalman filter. The clustering-
RKF in a decentralised manner to predict future target locations, based fusion estimation target tracking approach in [32] calculates
and (iii) overcoming the distortion between topology coordinates the filter estimators at each cluster head, and it is suitable for
and physical coordinates (which are unknown) for effective target sensor networks with multiple sampling intervals. Mobile object
detection. tracking in a randomly deployed binary sensor network is
This paper is organised as follows: Section 2 reviews related addressed in [33] with a location aware algorithm in which the
background. Section 3 presents the maximum likelihood topology output dynamically changes according to the object's movements.
map derivation. Section 4 presents the DeTarSK algorithm, Location prediction of mobile objects in WSNs is proposed in [34].
followed by results in Section 5. Finally, Section 6 presents the This method is based on Gauss–Markov mobility model and
conclusions. maximum likelihood technique, which assumes that sensors are
capable to measure the velocity of the target. Mobility estimation
2 Related work in WCDMA network using time difference of arrival and angle of
arrival is proposed in [35]. However, the distance uncertainty
The problem of searching for targets can be characterised based on calculation based with range measurements in complex and harsh
different aspects, such as a one- or two-sided search, tracking a environments limits it applicability.
stationary versus a moving target, discrete or continuous time Our proposed approach deviates from prior work in two ways.
search, and real-time or off-line search [7, 14]. Tracking can also First, we use a WSN topology map instead of a physical map thus
be categorised by the underlying the query routing structure, e.g. overcoming disadvantages associated with physical localisation
tree based [15], hierarchical cluster based [16], geometrical [17] and distance measurements. Second, we develop a decentralised
and hash based [18]. target search algorithm. As shown in Fig. 1a, in centralised
Tracking a target using a large-scale network is challenging due algorithms, the sensed information has to be routed to base station,
to limitations of WSNs such as limited energy, processing and processed, and then to the robot [20]. Thus, data is routed through
memory resources [19]. In addition, message losses are common multi-hops, which increase the network traffic and it is subject to
and nodes are prone to failures [4]. Therefore, target searching uncertainties in the network reducing the reliability of the
algorithms have to meet constraints, including energy-efficiency, algorithm. Hence, we propose a decentralised algorithm in which
distance-sensitivity, scalability and fault-tolerance [4]. Chong et al. robot directly communicate with its neighbours and move towards
[19] proposed a target localisation algorithm in visual sensor the target with available information as indicated in Fig. 1b. Thus
networks based on a certainty map that described an area in which decentralised algorithms overcome the disadvantages associated
the target was occupied or non-occupied. This algorithm aims at an with multi-hop communication in centralised algorithms.
optimum solution considering complexity, energy efficiency and Moreover, in a situation that links with the base station are lost,
robustness. Cluster-based target tracking algorithm is proposed in centralised algorithms are unable to search the target any further.
[20] to minimise the energy consumption in the network by the use However, in decentralised algorithms, as robot is mobile and using
of novel communication protocol they have proposed, which single-hop communication, it can move around and re-store the
reduces the packet transmission in the target tracking process. communication links easily. Also, if the robot is unable to function,
However, the decisions are made in a central node, which requires another robot can replace it because navigation path is completely
packet transmission from sensors to a sink in timely manner. independent and needs only robot's neighbours information.
An algorithm for sensor selection for target tracking is However, in centralised algorithms, replacing a base station is not a
presented in [21] with low estimation error and low computation feasible solution in an emergency situation. However, there is a
power. Njoya et al. [22] proposed a sensor placement algorithm to disadvantage relates with decentralised algorithms, which is robot
cover a target with minimum number of sensors in a reasonable may not get latest information about the target as centralised
time. A sensor selection algorithm is proposed in [23] to improve algorithms as it communicates only with neighbours. However, we
the accuracy of target localisation while optimising the energy. have overcome this with the use of a prediction method based on
Sensor allocation for target tracking in heterogeneous networks is RKF combined with a non-linear least-square method.
discussed in [24].
A generalised search for the best path selection based on NP-
complete optimal search path problem is presented in [6]. It
considers a target moving within a known indoor environment

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3 Maximum likelihood topology maps (ML-TM) where
In this paper, we use ML-TM proposed in [10], which is a
representative network layout map, which more closely resembles di j := (xi − xR(t j))2 + (yi − yR(t j))2 (2)
the physical map compared to the traditional topology preserving
maps (TPMs) [9]. Unlike TPMs that start with a hop-distance- Then, Pi(xi, yi) is calculated for any vertex in the grid for each
based coordinate system, ML-TM relies on a distance-based packet sensor node as
reception probability function. A binary matrix is used to represent
the packet reception of sensor nodes at different locations of the Pi(xi, yi) = Z(di1)Z(di2), …, Z(diN ) (3)
mobile robot's trajectory. Then the ML topology coordinates of
sensors are extracted using the probability function for packet Finally, the vertex that delivers the maximum value of Pi(xi, yi) is
reception. Hence, this method does not rely solely on connectivity taken as the ML optimal coordinates of the sensor node i.
[9, 36] nor range-based parameters [37].
In [10], the map is obtained by a mobile robot that traverses the
sensor field. Robot is able to receive packets from the nodes in its
4 RKF-based DeTarSK
vicinity. The probability of receiving a packet is sensitive to the DeTarSK algorithm based on ML topology maps of a WSN is
distance, and this property is used to generate ML-TM. The described in this section. The objective of this algorithm is to
receiving probability function, S(d) used is an intermediate model construct a real-time path to find a target with least possible time
between RSSI [38] and virtual coordinates (VC) [9] using the information gathered by robot's local neighbourhood. The
basic idea of the algorithm is described in Fig. 2. This algorithm
S(d) := p0 ∀d ≤ r uses standard IEEE 802.15.4/Zigbee point-to-point protocol to
S(d) := 0 ∀ d ≥ R communicate with sensors and robot [39]. First, we define some
(1) keywords as follows:
p (R − d) Target: a robot/person enters to the network and moves around
S(d) := 0 ∀r < d < R
(R − r) in an independent pattern.
Autonomous robot/agent: a robot/person with a wireless mote
where 0 < p0 ≤ 1, 0 < r < R ≤ Rc are some given constants. Rc is that is searching for the target by communicating with sensor
the communication range of a sensor node. nodes.
The moving robot keeps track of received packets from Target initial detection point: location the target enters the area
different nodes at different times, using a binary matrix M, called covered by the WSN and is detected by sensor nodes.
the packet receiving matrix. M is created as follows: Target tracking: sensor nodes sense for the target and keep track
M(i, j) = 1, if the robot receives a packet from the sensor i at of time instances that they have detected the target.
the time t j; Target prediction: autonomous robot predicting target's future
M(i, j) = 0, if the robot does not get a packet from the sensor i locations based on available tracking information.
at the time t j. Target search: autonomous robot looking for the target based on
In the next step, they calculate the optimal ML topology tracking and prediction information.
coordinates for each sensor using M matrix and S(d) function. For Let consider, N is the number of nodes are randomly deployed
that, R − neighbourhood of the robot's trajectory is divided into over an environment and Nt( < N) is the number of nodes are
small step grid and a function called Pi(xi, yi) is introduced. This detected a target entering to the network at time t. Then the
detested nodes, St = {s1, …, sk}, transmit an initial message to the
function is the probability of obtaining the packet receiving vector
mi for node i under the assumption that the sensor node i is located sink node informing the detection. Sink node calculates the initial
target location Lt0 = (Xt0, Y t0) using (4) and sends a message to
at the point (xi, yi). Moreover, to find Pi(xi, yi), they defined a
function Z(di j) as autonomous robot including the calculated target detection point.
Since, it takes time for these message transmission, we assume that
the robot starts the search after a ta time from target detection.
S(di j) if mi( j) = 1
Z(di j) = Thus, robot do not have any data about target's current location or
1 − S(di j) if mi( j) = 0 moving direction. These information are gathered by its
neighbourhood nodes in a decentralised way as described in
following subsections:

∑si ∈ St xi ∑si ∈ St yi
Xt0 = and Y t0 = (4)
Nt Nt

4.1 Information gathering

As in [40], information about target is gathered by robot's local
neighbourhood. A message is transmitted to its V a + ε-
neighbourhood (nodes located within a circle centred at the robot s
location with a radius of V a + ε.) to request their topology
coordinates, transmitting power and time sets Zsij that each node has
captured the target. The ε is a value within 0 and V a /2. Then, robot
calculates its topology coordinates Lai at time ti as

|Na |
∑ j = i1 w j x j
Xai = |Na |
∑ j = i1 w j
|Na |
∑ j = i1 w jy j
Y ai = |Na |
∑ j = i1 w j
Fig. 1  Packet flow of target search algorithms
(a) Centralised target search algorithm, (b) Decentralised target search algorithm

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where s j ∈ Nai and w j = (Prx j /Ptx j). Ptx j is the transmitting power of predict the target trajectory up to tK time instances, i.e. the largest
node j and Prx j is the receiving power of the message sent by node t
time instance value of all Zsij time sets that robot received.
j. The uncertainty mobility model and measurement model used
in this paper are as follows:
4.2 Target trajectory prediction
xt(k + 1) = (A + BΔ(k)K)xt(k) + w(k) (7)
In this stage, the target trajectory is predicted using the information
gathered in previous stage. From Zsij time sets, we can find subset y(k) = Cxt(k) + v(k) (8)
of nodes that detected the target at each time instance. Then,
t t t t t t t t t t t
Lt j(k) = (Xt j(k), Y t j)(k), the target locations at time tk with available where xt = [Xt j, Y t j, Ẋ t j, Ẏ t j]T . (Xt j, Y t j) and (Ẋ t j, Ẏ t j) are the position
information at t j ( > tk) is calculated using (6). These location and velocity of the target in topology map.
information is stored in robot memory for future trajectory Δ(k) = [γ(k) − 10; 0β(k) − 1] is the uncertain matrix. γ(k) and β(k)
prediction as well satisfy the constraint of 1 − ζ ≤ γ(k), β(k) ≤ 1 + ζ, where
0 < ζ < 1. Thus Δ(k) satisfy the bound Δ(k)TΔ(k) ≤ I. w(k) is the
t ∑i = 1 cik xi + Xt j − 1(k)nt j − 1 process noise with Q covariance that denotes the driving/
Xt j(k) = N
, acceleration command of the target. v(k) is the measurement noise
∑i = 1 cik + nt j − 1
(6) with R covariances that denote the nodes’ topology coordinates
N t error component. A, B, C and K are as follows:
t ∑i = 1 cik xi + Y t j − 1(k)nt j − 1
Y t j(k) = N
∑i = 1 cik + nt j − 1 1 0 t 0 t 0
0 1 0 t 0 t
where cik = 1, if si node is in the robot neighbourhood and detected A= , B=
0 0 1 0 0 0
the target at time tk and cik = o, if it is not in the neighbourhood or
0 0 0 1 0 0
does not detected the target at time tk. nt j − 1 is the number of nodes
t 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
used to calculate Ltkj − 1 at time t j − 1. C= , K=
0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Therefore, we have considered the RKF with an uncertainty
mobility model to remove the errors in target detection points. where t is the sampling time.
Kalman filter provides a method for constructing an optimal The non-linear least-square method is used to calculate the
estimate of the state that consists of a linear dynamical system target trajectory from the output of the robust Kalman filter. The
driven by stochastic white noise processes [41]. However, it does trajectory equation varies with time is a 3D space–time equation
not address the issue of robustness against large parameter when we consider a 2D network. Hence, we divided the space–
uncertainty in the linear process model. Therefore, a robust Kalman time equation to two equations that describe how x and y
filtering-based state estimation algorithm is used for target detected coordinates of the target varies with time and we name it as t–x
point calculation [11, 12]. curve and t–y curve, respectively. If the network is 3D, three
Since the target detected points are calculated from its current equations must be calculated namely t–x, t–y and t–z.
and previous neighbourhood information, those might have The next challenging thing is to find the degree of the t–x and t–
encountered some errors. Kalman filter has attracted attention on y curves. Let consider p and q are the degree of t–x and t–y curves,
target tracking in sensor networks in recent past because it provides t t
an optimal way of extracting a signal from noise by exploiting a respectively. Then the sign changes of Xt j(k) and Y t j(k) coordinates
state-space signal model [12]. It provides a method for constructing are considered to calculate p and q as shown below:
an optimal estimate of the state that consists of a linear dynamical
system driven by stochastic white noise processes [41]. However, it
does not address the issue of robustness against large parameter p= ∑ signtx k
uncertainty in the linear process model. In our problem, model
dynamics are unknown but bounded. Therefore, Kalman filter may
where (see (10)) where
lead to poor performance. RKF that focuses on the uncertainties of
the system has been proposed in [41]. RKF was applied to derive
an estimate of the mobile target's location in mobile sensor network
[11] and in Delay–Tolerant sensor networks [12], nevertheless,
these algorithms are calculated target locations in a centralised
approach. In our algorithm, we use the RKF in a decentralised
manner to remove errors in calculated target positions and to

Fig. 2  DeTarSK algorithm work flow

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t t t t
(Xt j(k) − Xt j(k − 1)) (Xt j(k − 1) − Xt j(k − 2))
1 if t t
× t t
= −1
|Xt j(k) − Xt j(k − 1)| |Xt j(k − 1) − Xt j(k − 2)|
signtxk = ⋅
t t
and | Xt j(k) − Xt j(k − 1) | > 1
0 otherwise
q= ∑ signty k


final_t − x = a × int_t − x + C (15)

where, a and C are constants and

signtyk =
int_t − x = ∏ (t − TD(i)) (16)
t t t t i=1
(Y t j(k) − Y t j(k − 1)) (Y t j(k − 1) − Y t j(k − 2))
1 if t t
× t t
= −1
|Y t j(k) − Y t j(k − 1)| |Y t j(k − 1) − Y t j(k − 2)| To calculate a and C, we can substitute two points at which the
t t
target was detected to final_t − x equation and solve them. The
and | Xt j(k) − Xt j(k − 1) | > 1 final_t − y equation also can be obtained by following came steps
0 otherwise mention above. Then, the target's current location
Lt_current = (Xt_current, Y t_current) can be obtained by substituting t j
The t–x and t–y curve equations are given as follows: value to the final_t − x and final_t − y equation.

x = a0 + a1t + ⋯ + apt p (11) 4.3 Next state of the autonomous robot

In this stage, we calculate the next point for the robot in its move
y = b0 + b1t + ⋯ + bqtq (12) towards the target as in A* algorithm [42]. The next point
calculation is based on grid search as in [40] and we consider
Equations (13) and (14) can be used to calculate a0, a1, …, ap and number of grids in its neighbourhood as eight. The grid locations
b0, b1, …, bp, which is obtained by using the least-square method Gi are based on the robot's current location Lai and it can be
calculated as
[a0 a1 ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ap]T = inv(T x)X (13)
XGk = Xai + V acos{(k − 1)π/4}
T (17)
[b0 b1 ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ bq] = inv(T y)Y (14) Y Gk = Y ai + V asin{(k − 1)π/4}

where where k = 1, …, 8. Once the grid layout is calculated, robot finds

the grids that are free with obstacles. Then it selects one grid as its
∑1 ∑ ti … ∑ tip next point to move based on following equation used in [40]:

Tx =
∑ ti ∑ ti 2
… ∑ tip +1
F(n) = G(n) + H(n) (18)
⋮ ⋮ ⋱ ⋮
where G(n) is the cost of moving from the initial step to the next
∑ tiq ∑ tip +1
… ∑ ti p 2
step on the grid and H(n) is the cost of moving from a grid point to
the target's predicted current Lt_current location.
∑ 1 ∑ ti … ∑ tiq For the H(n) calculation, we use the Euclidean distance in the
Ty =
∑ ti ∑ ti 2
… ∑ tiq +1
ML-TM. However, the actual length of the path cannot be
calculated because obstacles can be in the way of the target. Thus,
⋮ ⋮ ⋱ ⋮ H(n) is an approximate value. The robot calculates F(n) value for
∑ ∑ tiq… ∑ ti q
tiq + 1 2
all the grid locations and chooses the grid point that has minimum
F(n) value as its next state.
X T = ∑ xi ∑ ti xi… ∑ tip xi
Y T = ∑ yi ∑ tiyi… ∑ tiqyi 5 Performance evaluation
This section discusses the performance of the DeTarSK algorithm.
The t–x and t–y equations above describe the behaviour of the MATLAB-based simulation was carried out and two network
target (e.g. changing directions) upto tk ( < t j) time. However, our setups were considered in the evaluation. One is a sparse network
requirement is to predict the target location at time t j, which cannot with 1400 sensor nodes and the other one is a circular shape
be obtained by substituting the current time in the equation. network with three obstacles and 496 sensor nodes. The circular
Therefore, to incorporate future behaviours, we consider the time at shape network has three obstacles in the middle of the network. To
which the target changes its direction. Let us consider the t–x model a real communication link between nodes and robot, we
equation. First, differentiate the equation with respect to time and used a propagation model proposed in n [10, 40] and the equation
equate it to zero to find the set of time values {td1, td2, …} that is shown as follows:
changes the moving direction. Then, the average time of target
Prxi = Ptx j − 10εlogdi j − Lobi + vi (19)
moving in same direction Δt is calculated and the total set of
estimated time instances that target changes it direction is
TD = {td1, td2, …, tk + Δt, tk + 2Δt, …}. where the received signal strength at node i is Prxi, the transmitted
After that obtain the final estimated t–x equation that signal strength of the signal at node j is Ptx j, the path-loss exponent
incorporates the all behaviours as is ε, the distance between node i and node j is di j, Lobi is the loss
due to signal absorption from obstacles exist in the line of sight of
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Fig. 3  Results of DeTarSK for case 1
(a) Physical map, (b) Calculated ML-TM map, (c) Search using DeTarSK, (d) Target prediction error

Fig. 4  Result of DeTarSK for case 2

(a) Search using DeTarSK, (b) Target prediction error

Fig. 5  Result of DeTarSK for case 3

(a) Physical map, (b) Calculated ML-TM map, (c) Search using DeTarSK, (d) Target prediction error

nodes i and j, and the logarithm of shadowing component on node i ^ 2 ^ 2

Epr = (X ti − Xti) + (Y ti − Y ti)
at is vi. The shadowing values are selected from a normal
distribution with zero mean parameter and standard deviation
Figs. 3–5 show the results for the three cases. The prediction error
parameter. The absorption coefficient and the thickness of the
plots describe how our proposed method adjusts for the sudden
obstacle medium, which signal traverses are α and do, respectively.
movement changes of the target. For an example, in Fig. 3 we can
Then Lobi can be calculated as see the prediction error reduces with the time. However, when the
target makes a sudden direction change (at 43 s), the prediction
error increases, but it fine tunes using the proposed prediction
Lobi = ∑ 10αdolog(e) (20) method and brings down the error. It can be seen in Figs. 4 and 5
also. In Fig. 4, the target follows a random path, which has many
directional variations. However, our method captures those
where e is the exponent and n is the number of obstacles exist in
variations in a few seconds and predicts the target location with an
between node i and node j.
error <5 m.
To evaluate the performance of proposed target search
algorithm, three cases with different target motion patterns are
considered. In all three cases, the target and robot are moving with 5.1 Performance comparison
a speed of 1.5 and 2 m s−1, respectively. The comparison of DeTarSK with other existing algorithm is
Case 1: Target enters to the sparse network at (1, 20), randomly presented in this section. For that, we chose the recently proposed
moves around and leaves the network after 82 s at (1, 10). The P–G algorithm [2]. It is based on pseudo-gradient approach that
autonomous robot starts to search the target from (30, 30) after 5 s requires a communication hop count and RSS in the node
of target detection neighbourhood, which we do not consider in our proposed
Case 2: Target enters to the sparse network at (1, 25), randomly algorithm. Additionally, this algorithm is not controlled by a
moves around by changing the direction more frequently and leave central node, but it is needed to calculate pseudo-gradient in each
the network after 84 s at (60, 25). The autonomous robot starts to target movement. For the comparison, we used the same three
search the target from (30, 30) after 10 s of target detection. cases described above. Since, DeTarSK algorithm is proposed for
Case 3: Target enters to the circular shape obstacle network at topology maps and P–G algorithms are proposed for physical map,
(2, 15), randomly moves around and leave the network after 44 s at we need to convert the results for one domain to perform a fair
(28, 22). The autonomous robot starts to search the target from (3, evaluation. Therefore, DeTarSK robot trajectory in ML-TM is
20) after 5 s of target detection. mapped to physical map using procrustes analysis [43]. Let us
For each case, we calculated target prediction error that consider X and Y are the topological and physical coordinates
described the difference between predicted value and actual matrices. Then the Procrustes transformation factors can be
^ ^ ^
location of the target. Let us consider Lti = [X ti, Y ti] as the predicted calculated as
target location at time ti using the proposed algorithm. Then the
target prediction error can be calculated as Y = bXT + c; (22)

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© The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2017
Fig. 6  Performance comparison for Case 1
(a) Target search using DeTarSK, (b) Target search using P–G algorithm, (c) Distance between target and robot

Fig. 7  Performance comparison for Case 2

(a) Target search using DeTarSK, (b) Target search using P–G algorithm, (c) Distance between target and robot

Fig. 8  Performance comparison for Case 3

(a) Target search using DeTarSK, (b) Target search using P–G algorithm, (c) Distance between target and robot

Table 1 Time required to capture the target case I, described by Fig. 6, proposed DeTarSK algorithm detects
Case Robot speed = 2 m s−1 Robot speed = 3 m s−1 the target in less time and lower speed than the P–G algorithm. In
DeTarSK, s P–G DeTarSK, s P–G, s case II also our proposed algorithm captures the target much faster
than the P–G algorithm with a lower speed. The reason, as can be
1 70 —a 47 79
seen in Fig. 7, is that DeTarSK autonomous robot path does not
2 80 —a 52 76 follow all the steps in the target trajectory, but it predicts the
3 29 18 35 target's future positions from past knowledge and makes a decision
on its next movement. Hence, it is faster than the P–G algorithm.
aCould not capture the target with 2 m s−1 robot speed.
Case III results in Fig. 8 and shows that our algorithm can follow a
target and capture it in a network filled with obstacles. Even in this
case DeTarSK was able to catch the target with lower speed and in
where b is the scaling factor, T is the rotation angle and c is the less time compared to P–G algorithm. Figs. 6c–8c show that when
shift value. In this paper, transformation factors are calculated target changes its direction suddenly the distance increases.
locally. In other words, robot's each step coordinates are However, compared to P–G algorithm, our proposed algorithm
transformed to the physical map using its local neighbourhood detected it and made required changes to reduce the distance within
sensor information. a few seconds. These results demonstrate that the DeTarSK
Figs. 6–8 show the results of three cases. In those three figures, algorithm can catch the target within less time and lower robot
sub-figures (a) show the proposed algorithm's autonomous robot speed. Moreover, the DeTarSK consumes less energy in the WSN
search path in the physical map and sub-figures (b) show the robot compared to the P–G algorithm. The reason is pseudo-gradient
search path using the P–G algorithm in the physical map. The need to be calculated in each step of the robot movement. This
distance between target and the autonomous robot in each time required to obtain the hop count from target to each and every node
value is shown in sub-figures (c). The autonomous robot's speed, in the network, which consumes more energy for packet
and capturing time of the target in each case is stated in Table 1. In transmission and reception. Also, it increases the traffic in the
all three cases, the target is moving with a 1.5 m s−1 speed. Also, network. However, in the proposed method, the robot
the P–G algorithm was unable to capture the target with 2 m s−1 communicates with its local neighbourhood only which requires
robot speed as the target leaves the network as described in the shorter length or one hop communication links. Thus, the proposed
three cases. The reason that P–G algorithm was unable to capture scheme gives real-time result with less energy consumption.
the target with a lower robot speed is, P–G algorithm does not have
a prediction method to calculate the future behaviour of the target, 6 Conclusion
thus, it takes time to adjust the moving direction of robot according
to the target moving pattern. Therefore, we increase the robot speed We presented DeTarSK, a decentralised target search and
upto 3 m s−1 and find out the time required to capture the target. In prediction algorithm for sensor network-based environments where

66 IET Wirel. Sens. Syst., 2018, Vol. 8 Iss. 2, pp. 60-67

© The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2017
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