An intelligent antenna allows to specify in centimeters the location of mobile devices using Wi-Fi networks

The first industrial doctorate in Telecommunications facilitates contextual services and interactive applications in commerce and smart cities.

Applying the principles of radar geolocation, the smart antenna developed in the last thesis defended at the UPCT allows mobile devices to be identified and located with centimeter precision through local wireless networksopening the door to autonomous interaction between smartphones and other smart equipment.

Interactive visits to museums, proximity advertising in shopping centers, public service information in cities, monitoring of elderly people alone or electronic toll collection on highways are some of the applications that this technology could have.

The thesis of Jose Antonio Lopez Pastorwith which the first industrial doctorate in Telecommunications from the Cartagena Polytechnic has concluded, proposes use Wi-Fi networks to solve the inaccuracy of satellite navigation systems in closed spaces and urban areas with very tall buildings.

The investigation, directed by José Luis Gómez Tornero and co-directed by Antonio Jesús Ruiz and Antonio Javier García, has shown that with a single router mobile devices can be identified and located with a precision of 50 centimeters. “The next step is to use ‘deep learning’ algorithms to scale this technology to spaces with different Wi-Fi networks,” explains Gómez Tornero.

Already a doctor from the UPCT, José Antonio López Pastor has completed his industrial doctorate at the Murcian company Neuromobile, which offers ‘contextual marketing’ services to send customers “the right message at the right time”.

“We have been able to carry out cutting-edge academic research and, at the same time, useful for an SME”, highlights Gómez Tornero.

Coinciding with the defense of the thesis, the PhD program in Information and Communication Technologies organized a workshop for students on these new indoor positioning systems, with presentations by professors from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Gabriel de Blasio and Alexis Quesadaas well as the researcher from the University of Miño (Universidade do Minho) Joaquín Torres.

The research group led by Gómez Tornero is applying smart antennas like the one developed in this thesis to a multitude of wireless networks, such as Bluetooth, RFID sensor networks, LoRa or Zigbee, operating in different frequency bands and using different communication protocols. Both for terrestrial and satellite communications applications, the latter using low-orbit satellite constellations, such as the well-known Starlink by Elon Musk.

“The objective is to design more efficient communications and location networks, and that can provide services both to sparsely inhabited areas of emptied Spain, as well as to dense metropolises, but in a sustainable and more ecological way in the paradigm of smart cities and the Internet of Things”, explains Gómez Tornero, whose group is already applying these antennas for automotive and sustainable mobility, collaborating with companies such as A4radar, AED and INDRA.

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