Acoustic Localization System

Acoustic Localization System

Acoustic Localization

Many systems for position determination and collision avoidance are based on the propagation of electromagnetic waves. In environments with strong interferences, e.g. industrial or mining, this can lead to incorrect measurements that may endanger persons or machines. The acoustical measurement method developed by the Linz Center of Mechatronics GmbH (LCM) provides increased safety and robustness by applying the physical principle of sound propagation.

Security System for Miners

Within the EU / RFCS-Project FEATureFACE, LCM developed a localization system that detects miners in the vicinity of mining machinery and stops the machine in dangerous situations. The environmental conditions of, e.g., coal mines that are located 1000 meters below ground exhibit special challenges: Numerous metal fittings and electrically-operated machines frequently cause disturbances in purely electromagnetic systems. Hence, sound propagation was used as an additional physical principle.


To make this system usable in the noisy industrial environment, LCM has developed specially coded acoustic measurement signals. In combination with innovative signal processing, these enable reliable and precise measurements of the location and speed of the mobile subscribers to be monitored.

Left: Hard hat microphone which facilitates the recording of the measurement signals. Right: Mobile tag carried by the miner that contains radio and signal processing units (Source: LCM).

Originally designed for 2D-localization, the system was adapted such as to allow for the determination of 3D-positions. In stationary scenarios, the 3D-system provides a position accuracy in the range of cm.

The Particularities

In order to avoid unnecessary acoustic disturbances, an adaptive control adjusts the volume to the minimum required for reliable measurements.

An ATEX certification is required for use in an explosive atmosphere. This has been taken into account by the fact that the loudspeakers used already have this authorization and the mobile tags have been designed for the lowest possible energy consumption.

ATEX-certified loudspeaker as used in the FEATureFACE system (Source: LCM).

This localization system was designed for mining applications. However, it may serve in a wider range of applications: Industrial plants (particularly in plants without staff), building lots, collision avoidance systems around industrial vehicles, among others.

LCM Competences

  • Development of the measurement concept
  • Electro-acoustics
  • Algorithm development for signal processing and localization
  • Adaptive volume control
  • Demonstrator of the prototype system


„Ortungssystem zur Absicherung einer Gefahrenzone um mobile Arbeitsmaschinen“, Buchegger, Fenzl, Gebhard, Hammer, Hesch, Pfeil, Pichler, Nummer DE 10 2014 103 705. Beginn Laufzeit 19.03.2014; Erteilung: 15.12.2016.

Best acoustic System at the Microsoft Indoor Localization Competition 2016

In April 2016, the LCM participated in the Microsoft Indoor Localization Competition and, with 8th place, achieved the best result among the acoustic systems. Impressions of this competition can be seen HERE:




Posted on

21. March 2016