On the Accuracy of Localizing Terrestrial Objects using Drones


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have enormous potentials for several important applications, such as search and rescue and structural health monitoring. An important requirement for these applications is the ability to accurately localize objects, such as sensors or ''smart-things'', equipped with wireless communication capability. However, most previous works in this area neglect the unavoidable errors that are involved in the localization process, thus resulting in poor performance in practice. In this paper, for the first time, we express the measurement error on the ground as a function of the rolling, altitude, and instrumental precision provided by the hardware on the drone. We takeaway two lessons from this analysis: to limit the ground error (i) all the waypoints used to measure the same node must be at a sufficiently large ground distance from the node itself, and (ii) they must not be collinear among themselves nor with the node. We validate the error expressions derived analytically through real experiments using the 3DR Solo Drone.

Meeting Name

2018 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2018 (2018: May 20-24, Kansas City, MO)


Computer Science

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Second Research Center/Lab

Center for High Performance Computing Research


The work has been partially supported by GEO-SAFE (H2020-691161), "RISE" Fondazione CR-PG (code 2016.0104.021), the NATO Science for Peace and Security grant G4936, and "GNCS - INdAM".

Keywords and Phrases

Antennas; Errors; Structural health monitoring; Wireless telecommunication systems; Error expressions; Poor performance; Search and rescue; Waypoints; Wireless communication capabilities; Drones

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1550-3607; 1938-1883

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2018