Acoustic source localization under variable speed of sound conditions
The rich literature on acoustic source localization mostly relies on the assumption of a constant value for the speed of sound. This hypothesis allows establishing simple relations between range differences and time differences and leads to effective estimation algorithms. However, it must be challenged for certain applications of wireless acoustic sensor networks in multizone buildings and outdoor environments. This article revisits the source localization problem for the more general case of an unknown value for the speed of sound. It reviews the physical foundations for the dependence of the speed of sound on the air temperature and presents the essential approaches to acoustic source localization. On this basis, several methods for source localization under uncertain or variable speed of sound conditions from the literature are discussed. Applications from different fields are shown. They comprise the localization of sources, sensors, and reflecting surfaces, time-difference-of-arrival disambiguation, and the direct determination of the speed of sound or the air temperature from acoustic measurements.