A Positioning and Mapping Methodology Using Bluetooth and Smartphone Technologies to Support Situation Awareness and Wayfinding for the Visually Impaired

Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology has become an important component of many Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as data communications, remote sensing, positioning, and providing location based services. We have developed a smartphone based assistive system that uses a network of BLE beacons to provide location specific traffic and navigational information for people who are visually impaired. To ensure information integrity and security, a self-monitoring methodology was developed by reprogramming the firmware of each BLE beacon to monitor its peers in the Bluetooth network. A multi-regression technique was implemented to model the relationship between Bluetooth Received Signal Strength (RSS) and the actual ranging distance. This methodology reduces the environmental uncertainty and dynamic nature of RSS measurements in an outdoor environment. An extended Kalman filter was used to provide positioning and mapping solutions in the absence of GNSS. In addition, several statistical techniques were implemented to evaluate their effectiveness in detecting location changes of one or multiple BLE beacons in a network based on Bluetooth signal strength indications. Our results indicated that our approach is able to successfully detect the changes of a BLE network that would indicate a problem (such as vandalism or loss of power) with the network. With the self-monitoring network, we can locate the smartphone and ensure information associated with each BLE beacon provides the correct location to reliably support wayfinding for the visually impaired in a transportation network.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $289,487
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Roadway Safety Institute

    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis, MN  United States  55455
  • Project Managers:

    Stearns, Amy

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

    Center for Transportation Studies
    Minneapolis, MN  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Liao, Chen-Fu

  • Start Date: 20140701
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180430
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37487

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01567220
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Roadway Safety Institute
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC35, CTS-2015025
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 26 2015 1:00AM