The autonomous car is now being developed at breakneck speed. A whole array of new technology is now being phased in to this development to make the autonomous vehicle an increasingly viable project, day by day. A technology that is set to play a particularly prominent role is GNSS-based positioning.
GNSS is a technology that has made great strides in the automotive sector. In 2008 GNSS takeup in vehicles topped 50 million devices for the first time; this figure had grown to nearly 76 million by 2016 and this upward trend has never slackened ever since.
Several future vehicle applications of a very varied range use GNSS as a key technology. Some of the most important are:
Smart mobility applications that boost road-transport comfort, efficiency and efficacy. The satnav is the best known example but mention could also be made of others like fleet-management systems, satellite-based traffic monitoring services (floating car data), etc.
Regulated applications. These apply policies from Europe or elsewhere: eCall, ERA-GLONASS, Smart Tachograph, pay-per-use tolling systems, etc.
Liability-critical applications, where the performance features of GNSS positioning could have a significant impact from the legal or economic point of view. Examples might be e-tolling, telematic insurance.
Safety-critical applications. The performance features of GNSS positioning could also have an equally significant impact on the safety of vehicle occupants. The positioning system’s precision and integrity are essential here, in areas such as C-ITS, ADAS or autonomous driving, where human lives are at stake.
Breakthroughs in positioning technologies and their integration with different types of sensors are making it possible to bring in ever-higher self-driving levels. High-precision and -integrity GNSS can input the precision, availability and reliability that any autonomous car needs.
What conditions should GNSS technology for the autonomous car fulfil?
GNSS is set to play a crucial role in the autonomous driving of the near future. Some GNSS technology could be considered directly as an enabler of autonomous driving. Other examples form part of the ecosystem that now needs to be built up for autonomous driving to become an everyday reality.
Level-3, -4 and -5 autonomous vehicles are going to need very high precision positioning systems, guaranteeing accuracy down to a matter of centimeters. Integrity too is crucial in this field where the requirements to be met are much more demanding than in civil aviation.
GNSS – together with other technology – represents a key response to autonomous vehicles’ need of high-precision, -reliability and –integrity positioning.
The enabling technology of autonomous-driving is in fact already being used to aid semi-autonomous driving based on digital-map navigation.
Its use combined with technologies like inertial management units (IMUs), connectivity (V2X (5G, ITS-G5)), high-precision maps and hybridization with other sensors (cameras, lidar…) will be vital in achieving automation levels 3 and higher, calling for very high performance levels especially in all safety-related aspects.
GMV has now achieved a leading position in most of these technologies, built up from its proven expertise in areas such as satellite navigation, aeronautics and the development of safety-critical software or cybersecurity, to name only a few.
Drawing on its longstanding experience in the development of integrity solutions for EGNOS and Galileo, GMV has worked on the development and adaptation of the integrity concept for the automotive market (where it now holds 9 patents). At the same time GMV has developed inhouse GNSS PPP (Precise Point Positioning) solutions (magicPPP®).
Both research areas came together in the implementation of a series of patented algorithms for the PPP engine, a watershed moment in implementation of a safe PPP solution.
We are now working busily away on positioning solutions for the driving of the future. Very soon some of the autonomous vehicles running on our roads will be using this GMV technology. Watch this space!
Author: Sara Gutiérrez Lanza
Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV