Ready for Transfer

Real-Time Tracking System

RFT image

Laboratory: NASAJohnson Space Center (JSC)

Technology:A real-time locating system (RTLS) topinpoint emergency and military personnel in remote environments

Opportunity:Available for licensing

Details: This systemuses ultra-wideband (UWB) radio frequency (RF) signalsto track and reportthe position of transmitter-equipped people and objects. The technology has 100 to 1,000 times finer granularity than conventional narrowband RF RTLS systems and achieves a tracking resolution of less than 1 percent of the range (tested up to 3,500 feet). The technology has a number of commercial applications, including long-range tracking of emergency, military, and mining personnel in limited access or hostile environments where global positioning systems are not reliable. This method combines the advantages of accurate time difference of arrival (TDOA) information achieved using UWB technology with the geometric advantages of two-cluster tracking to provide accurate location information at long ranges.


  • High performance - operates in proximity to other radio communication systems
  • High resolution - offers high temporal resolution (on the order of picoseconds)
  • Accurate - precise measurements of propagation time while transmitting data
  • Scalable - offers ability to increase system range, with additional cells
  • Dual use - simultaneous communication channel and precise locating capabilities


  • Aerospace rovers, robots, and astronauts on exploratory missions
  • Emergency workers in limited access areas where GPS is not reliable
  • Military personnel and equipment on battlefields and in other hostile environments
  • Mining industry, to locate and communicate with underground personnel
  • Oil companies, for use in drilling operations
  • High-value inventory tracking industry

Contact:Michelle P. Lewis, JSC Patent License Manager

View more details at NASA's listing for this tech transfer opportunity.