Localization of narrowband radio emitters based on doppler frequency shifts

Alon Amar*, Anthony J. Weiss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


Several techniques for emitter localization based on the Doppler effect have been described in the literature. One example is the differential Doppler (DD) method in which the signal of a stationary emitter is intercepted by at least two moving receivers. The frequency difference between the receivers is measured at several locations along their trajectories and the emitter's position is then estimated based on these measurements. This two-step approach is suboptimal since each frequency difference measurement is performed independently, although all measurements correspond to a common emitter position. Instead, a single-step approach based on the maximum likelihood criterion is proposed here for both known and unknown waveforms. The position is determined directly from all the observations by a search in the position space. The method can only be used for narrowband signals, that is, under the assumption that the signal bandwidth must be small compared to the inverse of the propagation time between the receivers. Simulations show that the proposed method outperforms the DD method for weak signals while both methods converge to the Cramér-Rao bound for strong known signals. Finally, it is shown that in some cases of interest the proposed method inherently selects reliable observations while ignoring unreliable data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5500-5508
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1232/04


    • Differential Doppler
    • Emitter location
    • Maximum likelihood estimation


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