A survey of positioning systems using visible LED lights

Yuan Zhuang, Luchi Hua, Longning Qi, Jun Yang*, Pan Cao, Yue Cao, Yongpeng Wu, John Thompson, Harald Haas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

455 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


As Global Positioning System (GPS) cannot provide satisfying performance in indoor environments, indoor positioning technology, which utilizes indoor wireless signals instead of GPS signals, has grown rapidly in recent years. Meanwhile, visible light communication (VLC) using light devices such as light emitting diodes (LEDs) has been deemed to be a promising candidate in the heterogeneous wireless networks that may collaborate with radio frequencies (RF) wireless networks. In particular, light-fidelity has a great potential for deployment in future indoor environments because of its high throughput and security advantages. This paper provides a comprehensive study of a novel positioning technology based on visible white LED lights, which has attracted much attention from both academia and industry. The essential characteristics and principles of this system are deeply discussed, and relevant positioning algorithms and designs are classified and elaborated. This paper undertakes a thorough investigation into current LED-based indoor positioning systems and compares their performance through many aspects, such as test environment, accuracy, and cost. It presents indoor hybrid positioning systems among VLC and other systems (e.g., inertial sensors and RF systems). We also review and classify outdoor VLC positioning applications for the first time. Finally, this paper surveys major advances as well as open issues, challenges, and future research directions in VLC positioning systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8292854
Pages (from-to)1963-1988
Number of pages26
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2018


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