Bibliographic resources
Bibliography mandatory
Bibliography not mandatory
Summary Teaching Assignment
Academic Year 2018/2019
School School of Industrial and Information Engineering
Cfu 5.00 Type of Course Mono-Disciplinary Course
Lecturers: Titolare (Co-titolari) Nicoli Monica Barbara

Programme Track From (included) To (excluded) Course


The goal of this course is to teach students the fundamentals of positioning, navigation, and communication systems for smart mobility.

Location has become a crucial information for a huge number of services, many of which fall in the area of transportation. Modern transportation systems, often referred to as smart mobility or intelligent transportation systems (ITS), rely on information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve safety, sustainability and quality of mobility. Fundamental is the knowledge of the position/velocity of vehicles, persons and assets, either single entities or aggregates (i.e., flows). Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) is the dominant technology in open sky, but severe propagation conditions (indoor, urban canyons) or critical performance requirements (accuracy, latency reliability) call for the integration with hybrid localization technologies, such as wireless networks, radar, and inertial systems.

This course covers the fundamentals of wireless positioning and navigation, including both terrestrial and satellite systems, and gives an overview of main applications with emphasis on ITS:

  • The first part aims to provide a basic understanding of the methodologies and technologies for wireless positioning: fundamentals of radio-localization; terrestrial localization systems based on cellular or short-range communications; satellite navigation and augmentation systems; hybrid and advanced systems.
  • The second part, integrated with seminars from experts on transport and traffic engineering, presents applications to ITS: sensors and technologies for traffic monitoring, processing methodologies and mathematical models for traffic analytics; communication systems for road safety and traffic efficiency.

Expected learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Students will be able to: understand architectures, elements and signal processing methodologies of wireless positioning systems; understand sensing, processing and communication technologies for ITS; define mathematical models for formulation and analysis of a navigation problem; learn dynamic models and tracking filters for mobile scenarios.

Applying knowledge and understanding
Student will be able to: apply the mathematical models to design positioning algorithms and assess the related performance; apply dynamic models and tracking filters to practical scenarios of smart mobility.

Making judgements
Students will be able to: identify suited positioning technologies for different application scenarios; identify how the network deployment and measurement limitations impact on the system performance.  

Students will be able to: describe the learned technologies, at different levels of details, also comparing them with respect to specific aspects; present a project consisting in the simulation of a localization/mobility problem, implementation of a selected methodology and evaluation of the performance (non mandatory).


Positioning and navigation:

  • Overview of location-based services.
  • Basics of localization: parameters and measurements, infrastructures and protocols, spatial-temporal reference systems, positioning methods (multi-lateration/angulation, proximity sensing, fingerprinting, dead reckoning, hybrid approaches).
  • Localization processing: navigation equations, algorithms for solution, accuracy and geometric dilution of precision (GDOP), error sources, augmentation approaches, dynamic models and filters for mobile positioning (Kalman, grid-based and particle filters).
  • Technologies and systems:
    • Terrestrial radio-localzation systems: cellular positioning (GSM, UMTS, LTE), short-range systems for indoor positioning (WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, UWB, RF-ID), examples and applications.
    • Satellite systems: overview of satellite navigation systems (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, Beidou/Compass), architecture and segments, signals and spreading codes, navigation message, receiver structure, navigation processing, performances and main sources of error, augmentation systems.
    • Advanced systems: hybrid systems, cooperative and distributed systems, new technologies.

Applications to smart mobility:

  • Introduction to ITS: architecture and elements, technologies, examples and applications.
  • Traffic monitoring: sensors and communication systems for identification or counting of vehicles/passengers/equipments, probe vehicles and floating car data, fleet management, electronic toll collection.
  • Fundamentals of traffic modeling and control.
  • Overview of communication technologies for transportation and safety: cellular, satellite, dedicated short-range communications, vehicle-to-vehicle/vehicle-to-infrastructure or vehicle-to-any (V2X) communications, evolution of V2X technologies to support cooperative automated driving.


Students are expected to have a basic knowledge of communication systems.


The exam consists of a written test on the course contents. Optionally, students can integrate the written test result with either 1) a project on a selected topic (to be agreed with the teacher) or 2) an oral examination. In case of no project/oral, the final mark is the one obtained in the written test clipped to maximum 27/30. In case of integration with project/oral exam, the final grade is a weighted average of the two grades obtained by the written test and the project/oral.

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaCourse website on the Beep platform of Politecnico di Milano https://beep.metid.polimi.it

Access restricted to students registered to the course. Lecture notes; seminars by experts on positioning, navigation and smart mobility, from university/industry (approx. 5-6 seminars per year, since 2010-2011); projects by former students; examination papers; further material and information.

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaA. Küpper, Location-based Services. Fundamentals and Operation, Editore: Wiley, Anno edizione: 2005

Part 1 of the course - Terrestrial radio positioning

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaA. Bensky, Wireless Positioning Technologies and Applications, Editore: Artech House, Anno edizione: 2008

Part 1 of the course - Terrestrial radio positioning

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaR. Prasad e M. Ruggieri, Applied Satellite Navigation Using GPS, GALILEO, and Augmentation Systems, Editore: Artech House, Anno edizione: 2005

Part 1 of the course - Satellite radio positioning

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaP. D. Groves, Principles of GNSS, Inertial, and Multisensor Integrated Navigation Systems, Editore: Artech House, Anno edizione: 2007

Part 1 of the course - Satellite radio positioning

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaE. D. Kaplan e C. Hegarty, Understanding GPS: Principles and Applications, Editore: Artech House, Anno edizione: 2005

Part 1 of the course - Satellite radio positioning

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaB. Dalla Chiara, ITS nei trasporti stradali, Editore: EGAF, Anno edizione: 2013

Part 2 of the course - Intelligent transportation systems

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaC. F. Daganzo, Fundamentals of Transportation and Traffic Operations, Editore: Pergamon-Elsevier, Anno edizione: 1997

Part 2 of the course - Intelligent transportation systems

Software used
No software required

Learning format(s)
Type of didactic form Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Computer Laboratory
Experimental Laboratory
Project Laboratory
Total 50:00 75:00

Information in English to support internationalization
Course offered in English
Study material/slides available in English
Textbook/Bibliography available in English
It is possible to take the examination in English
Support available in English
schedaincarico v. 1.10.0 / 1.10.0
Area Servizi ICT