Design of Sparse Multiband Signal for Precise Positioning with Joint Low-Complexity Time Delay and Carrier Phase Estimation

Han Dun, Christian C.J.M. Tiberius, Cherif E.V. Diouf, Gerard J.M. Janssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a methodology to design a sparse multiband ranging signal with a large virtual bandwidth, from which time delay and carrier phase are estimated by a low complexity multivariate maximum likelihood (ML) method. In the estimation model for a multipath channel, not all reflected paths are considered, and time delay and carrier phase are estimated in a step-wise manner to further reduce the computational load. By introducing a measure of dependence and a measure of bias for a multipath reflection, we analyse the bias, precision and accuracy of time delay and carrier phase estimation. Since these two indicators are determined by the signal spectrum pattern, they are used to formulate an optimization for signal design. By solving the optimization problem, only a few bands from the available signal spectrum are selected for ranging. Consequently, the designed signal only occupies a small amount of signal spectrum but has a large virtual bandwidth and can thereby still offer a high ranging precision with only a small bias, based on the low-complexity simplified ML method. Numerical and laboratory experiments are carried out to evaluate the ranging performance of the proposed estimation method based on sparsely selected signal bands. Relative positioning, in which we only measure a change in position, based on either the time delay estimates or the carrier phase estimates, is presented as a proof-of-concept for precise positioning. The results show that positioning based on only 7 out of 16 signal bands, sparsely placed in the available spectrum, achieves a decimeter level accuracy when using time delay estimates, and a millimeter level accuracy when using carrier phase estimates. Compared with the case of using all available bands, and without largely decreasing the positioning performance, the computational complexity when using the sparse multiband signal can be reduced by about 80%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9380302
Pages (from-to)3552-3567
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Carrier phase estimation
  • multiband signal
  • multipath channel
  • optimization
  • precise positioning
  • sparsity
  • time delay estimation


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