P19251: Local Positioning System

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

The goal of the team is to define the customer and engineering requirements needed to complete this Local Positioning System for the customer Spectracom. By the end of this phase, the team will have a concrete definition of what type of system the team can present to the customer. Accomplishments from this phase include having discussions with the teams' customer to discuss requirements, analyzation of those requirements to develop multiple system scenarios, and system-level design for customer satisfaction.

Project Summary

Robots usually figure out their relative positions using GPS. This technology has some drawbacks, however. GPS can be slow, inaccurate, or unavailable altogether.

The short-term goals is to create a local positioning system (LPS) using 3 local positioning nodes and 1 central processing unit to accurately track robot distances to within 1cm. The proposed LPS should have a refresh period of under 50ms, and must be robust enough to extend multiple application, and must be expandable. The overall design must work amidst obstacles and cannot exceed a budget of $1500.

Use Cases

Scenario 1 - Beaconing: Given a cluster of nodes, if one were to wander outside of range(Ex. If a drone were to stray off course in a racing event), the main computing unit would log that and respond accordingly. Similarly, if a node were to suddenly lose battery or stop functioning, the cluster would acknowledge that and relay the information to the main computing unit.

Scenario 2 - Positioning: Often in sporting events or tactical operations, the position of an individual at a given time is crucial information. Given that a cluster of nodes is spread over the area of interest, the position of any single node can be given.

Scenario 3 - Velocity Tracking: In any speed-oriented event(Drone racing, track events, vehicle speed tracking), the exact speed of a person/object is needed. With a cluster of nodes constantly pinging each other, the velocity of any one node could be calculated within a fair degree of accuracy and constantly.

Stake Holders

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

3 ruggedized nodes capable of 10 to 15 meters transmittion. One central processing unit capable of fast position calculations which will be relayed to an external computer. A GUI capable of showing node and main computing unit position.

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Requirements

Customer Requirements

A working copy of the document can be found here.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Engineering Reqirements

Engineering Reqirements

A working copy of the document can be found here.


In accordance with our customer requirements, our constraints are as follows:
  1. Keep Budget within $1500
  2. Time to work on this project is constrained by MSD
  3. Number of team members working on the project

House of Quality


Our House of Quality helps us understand which requirements are ones we need to focus on and which we need to dedicate more resources towards. In this, we put our Customer requrirements on the side assigning their weightage on importance. We then place the engineering requirements we came up with on the top and assigned what values we expect to see and how difficult it may be to accomplish. In the overlaps of the requirements, we assign how well the engineering requirements fit the customers needs. This will show us if we have planned for the particular requirement. If the customer's requirements is too difficult to accomplish, we may be able to let them know and propose an alternative requirement. Below is the completed House of Quality chart.
House of Quality

House of Quality

Plans for next phase

Individual 3 Week Plans

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