Highly Accurate and Secure Distance Measurement with Bluetooth

Technology Overview

The technology provides unprecedented ranging accuracy on standard narrowband radios like Bluetooth. Currently, Bluetooth ranging systems achieve at best a 3m accuracy. With the new super-resolution ranging algorithms, an accuracy of 30cm is possible. In addition, this solution is resistant against relay attacks.

This unprecedented performance and reliability allow proximity services to move from fairly relaxed use cases like proximity marketing in shopping centres, to more demanding applications, for instance, location-based, secure data access to patient records by authorized personnel in a hospital room.

Technology Features & Specifications

Bluetooth ranging technology is already very popular and many localization systems exist based on beacons. Beacon technology generally estimates the distance between devices using the received signal strength indicator (RSSI). Localization of Bluetooth devices is done by combining the distance estimate to several beacons, mounted at fixed and known locations, using triangulation with at least 3 anchors. Due to multipath reflections in indoor environments, RSSI-based ranging is inherently inaccurate.

The technology uses a combination of a phase-based distance estimation protocol and advanced signal processing to separate the line-of-sight (LOS) signal component from multipath reflections. The result is a robust ranging system with sub-meter accuracy. Unlike Direction of Departure (DoD) and Direction of Arrival (DoA) technology, this technology’s distance measurement works with only a single antenna at either side. With multiple antennas in combination with tracking, the accuracy of the distance measurement can be further improved to 30 cm. It can also be combined with a DoD-DoA implementation if required.

This high robustness against multipath interference, and resistance against relay attacks, enable a range of challenging applications like smart locks, or secure and easy commissioning of devices by being in the proximity of a device. The superior performance of the technology’s very accurate ranging has been demonstrated on various commercial chips, showing the versatility of the solution to work on standard narrowband radios of various standards and manufacturers.


Key features of the technology:
• Location accuracy of 30cm
• Suitable for standard narrowband 2.4GHz radio
e.g.: BLE4.0, 4.2, 5.0 and Zigbee / 802.15.4
• Time-of-flight (TOF) security against relay attacks
• Low processing power requirement
• Supports single and multiple antennas on both sides,
can be complemented with DoA and DoD
• Very robust against multipath reflections

Potential Applications

• Secure Locks for Buildings and Automotive
• Asset localization & tracking
• Indoor navigation
• Proximity services, beacons
• Device commissioning by proximity

Market Trends and Opportunities

The technology will find opportunities in markets such as indoor location and smart locks. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global indoor location market accounted for USD 5.22 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 40.99 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 42.0% during the forecast period of 2017–2022. In a separate report also by MarketsandMarkets, the smart lock market is expected to reach USD 2.67 Billion by 2023 from USD 1.28 Billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 13.11% between 2017 and 2023. Bluetooth will hold the largest size of smart lock market based on communication protocol by 2023.

Customer Benefits

• Very high accuracy compared to RSSI ranging solutions
• Safe against relay attacks
• Easy to implement on commercial chipsets, without need for radio hardware changes
• Suitable for narrowband, standardized communication platforms (BLE, Zigbee)

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