Local data aggregation is an effective means to save sensor node energy and prolong the lifespan of wireless sensor networks. However, when a sensor network is used to track moving objects, the task of local data aggregation in the network presents a new set of challenges, such as the necessity to estimate, usually in real time, the constantly changing state of the target based on information acquired by the nodes at different time instants.
To address these issues, we propose a distributed object tracking system which employs a cluster-based Kalman filter in a network of wireless cameras. When a target is detected, cameras that can observe the same target interact with one another to form a cluster and elect a cluster head.
Local measurements of the target acquired by members of the cluster are sent to the cluster head, which then estimates the target position via Kalman filtering and periodically transmits this information to a base station. The underlying clustering protocol allows the current state and uncertainty of the target position to be easily handed off among clusters as the object is being tracked.
This allows Kalman filter-based object tracking to be carried out in a distributed manner. An extended Kalman filter is necessary since measurements acquired by the cameras are related to the actual position of the target by nonlinear transformations. In addition, in order to take into consideration the time uncertainty in the measurements acquired by the different cameras, it is necessary to introduce nonlinearity in the system dynamics.
Our object tracking protocol requires the transmission of significantly fewer messages than a centralized tracker that naively transmits all of the local measurements to the base station.
It is also more accurate than a decentralized tracker that employs linear interpolation for local data aggregation. Besides, the protocol is able to perform real-time estimation because our implementation takes into consideration the sparsity of the matrices involved in the problem.
The experimental results show that our distributed object tracking protocol is able to achieve tracking accuracy comparable to the centralized tracking method, while requiring a significantly smaller number of message transmissions in the network.
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