Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.


Computer Engineering; Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Ramesh Abhari

Second Advisor

Ahmed Amer


From the Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service to the usage of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in military operations, recent years have seen the development of autonomous flight technologies becoming one of the major research topics in the drone industry. Tracking the geographic position of drones is a crucial part of any autonomous flight, but the common methods of drone location tracking either have too large of an error margin or require extensive environmental setup. The aforementioned issues are major roadblocks in the advancement of autonomous flight operations. The proposed solution is a new and improved method to track the location of a drone relative to a single reference point. This method will not require any environmental setup and offers a greater degree of precision than the commonly used Global Positioning System (GPS). The designed proof of concept model, which is a completely modular and self-reliant radio-frequency (RF) based location tracking system, was built to show the viability of this new drone tracking method. The tracking system can determine the relative location of a radio-frequency source with only one receiver module. By requiring only one receiver, this tracking system eliminates the need to set up a triangulation zone. Additionally, optimizing the tracking system to generate a location from the RF telemetry signals needed in user-drone communication, the solution effectively presents an efficient manner to track a drone without the need for additional attachments. The proposed solution introduces a novel method that has the potential to vastly improve autonomous flight development and push it to full realization and fruition.