High time resolution of ultra wideband (UWB) signals facilitates very precise positioning capabilities based on time-of-arrival (TOA) measurements. Although the theoretical lower bound for TOA estimation can be achieved by the maximum likelihood principle, it is impractical due to the need for extremely high-rate sampling and large number of multipath components. On the other hand, the conventional correlation-based algorithm, which serially searches possible signal delays, takes a very long time to estimate the TOA of a received UWB signal. Moreover, the first signal path does not always have the strongest correlation output. Therefore, first path detection algorithms need to be considered. In this paper, a two-step TOA estimation algorithm is proposed. In order to speed up the estimation process, the first step estimates the rough TOA of the received signal based on received signal energy. Then, in the second step, the arrival time of the first signal path is estimated by considering a hypothesis testing approach. The proposed scheme uses low-rate correlation outputs, and is able to perform accurate TOA estimation in reasonable time intervals. The simulation results are presented to analyze the performance of the estimator
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