Time-of-flight measurement techniques for airborne ultrasonic ranging

Jackson, Joseph and Summan, Rahul and Dobie, Gordon and Whiteley, Simon and Pierce, Stephen and Hayward, Gordon (2013) Time-of-flight measurement techniques for airborne ultrasonic ranging. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 60 (2). 343 - 355. ISSN 0885-3010

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Abstract

Airborne ultrasonic ranging is used in a variety of different engineering applications for which other positional metrology techniques cannot be used, for example in closed-cell locations, when optical line of sight is limited, and when multipath effects preclude electromagnetic-based wireless systems. Although subject to fundamental physical limitations, e.g., because of the temperature dependence of acoustic velocity in air, these acoustic techniques often provide a cost-effective solution for applications in mobile robotics, structural inspection, and biomedical imaging. In this article, the different techniques and limitations of a range of airborne ultrasonic ranging approaches are reviewed, with an emphasis on the accuracy and repeatability of the measurements. Simple time-domain approaches are compared with their frequency-domain equivalents, and the use of hybrid models and biologically inspired approaches are discussed.