Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

AUDITOR Report Summary

Project ID: 687367
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AUDITOR (Advanced Multi-Constellation EGNSS Augmentation and Monitoring Network and its Application in Precision Agriculture)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The goal of the project is the implementation of novel precise positioning differential techniques based on augmentation data in custom GNSS receivers to improve the performance of current augmentation services reducing costs. These techniques have proven to offer better accuracy with faster convergence times than differential solutions commercially available. Moreover, more sophisticated atmospheric models are being implemented to provide better corrections of ionospheric errors to enable further increased accuracy at the user side. All these advances are being integrated in a software demonstrator that will use public data from GNSS networks and will be able to generate and apply these corrections in near real time.

A custom dual-frequency receiver module is being implemented, following an innovative approach, porting a GNSS software-defined receiver to an embedded system that will integrate hardware accelerators to enable real-time operation in a low power system. The form factor and capabilities of the resulting receiver will be comparable to existing professional market receivers, while retaining all the advantages of software receivers: modularity, scalability, upgradability and flexibility.

Besides, providing multi-frequency multi-constellation support, this advanced receiver will allow very low level access to key internals even at sample level, enabling the integration of other complementary techniques. The fact that the software layer will be the evolution of an existing and successful open-source project, GNSS-SDR, will allow GNSS developers and researchers to customize the code of the receiver.
Based on the above aspects, low-cost effective precision agriculture (PA) services to farmers will be enabled, especially to those with small and medium-sized businesses in areas of Europe where EGNOS availability may be poor under certain conditions, in order to increase production rates with less input of any kind (agrochemicals, water, energy, person-hours) improving economic profitability and simultaneously increasing sustainability.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During year 1, WP1 (System analysis and specifications) and WP2 (receiver architecture definition) have been completed, and progress has been done in WP3 (GNSS receiver module), WP4 (advanced algorithms for GNSS), WP5 (Network SW for GNSS), WP7 (Implementation of precision agriculture tools and services) and WP9 (Dissemination and commercial exploitation). WP10 (Project management) has been active from the beginning of the project.

Within WP1, the state of the art of GNSS receivers and precise positioning services has been evaluated, including different GNSS systems and their associated augmentation subsystems that improve location accuracy, coverage or resilience. The state of the art of precise positioning services for agriculture has been detailed. The use of large baselines (WARTK) and the TOMION ionospheric model have been identified as key elements for AUDITOR. The state of precise positioning services for farm management services have been analyzed, together with the importance of affordable, dual-frequency and multi-constellations receivers that support accurate positioning at affordable prices.

The key requirements for precise positioning agriculture services have been identified and specified in terms of cost, external compatibility, data rates, physical interfaces, precision and flexibility. A complete test strategy has been defined to cover both HW/SW aspects.

As for WP2, the architecture design and subsystem specification has been performed, covering both the HW/SW embedded elements and the high level services and algorithms. The two core hardware elements and their inner software subsystems are the GNSS front-end module and the Zynq board, main digital processing platform, that embeds to processing units, the processing logic (FPGA based) and the processing system (ARM based).

Regarding WP3, the GNSS receiver architecture has been fully defined. The processing platform has been selected. The first version of the RF Front-end has been designed and manufactured, and validation in laboratory has been started. The SW processing environment and development toolchain setup has been completed. The implementation of the low level accelerators is finished. The SW chain validation using emulated inputs has progressed. Features and bugs of GNSS-SDR are ongoing which progress is publicly available in the GITHUB repository (https://github.com/gnss-sdr/gnss-sdr).

In WP4, the implementation of the ionospheric Boosted GNSS Applications in Real-Time (iBOGART) has been outlined and the main implementation issues have been identified. The iBOGART-net-model is partially implemented, and first tests on data acquisition and on the ionospheric tomographic model have been carried out, while the i-BOGART-user algorithms and iBOARGT-MSTIDS are expected to be finished within year 2. In addition an alternative ionosphere correction model was developed. This model means a data-adaptive approach, i.e. it allows a regional densification in case data are avaliable; it consists of a global and a regional model part and allows for real-time processing.

Within WP5, the CPF (central processing facility) has been further developed, implementing a new improved version of geodetic-ionospheric TOMION SW and considering Greece for testing purposes. Several improvements have been developed including a better tropospheric model and the consolidation of a new ionospheric mapping function to account for the top and bottom ionospheric parts in a more realistic way.

In WP7, trials to test the GNSS-based precision agriculture tools and services have been defined, including tests regarding agriculture machinery, services validation and variable rate application.

WP9 has run parallel to the system design, including the definition of a complete business plan and exploitation strategy from both industrial and research/academic partners. Market trends have been analyzed related to the value provided by AUDITOR: Affordable, fast and real-time high ac

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

AUDITOR will present several improvements as compared to existing systems:
• The use of WARTK/MSTIDs techniques permits longer baselines between the permanent receivers in the GNSS network, reducing dramatically the required infrastructure to provide prompter and more accurate corrections to enable precise positioning. The WARTK testing on a real scenario and its improvements to enable it are indeed progress beyond the state of the art. A solution to enable the applicability of WARTK corrections by means of RTKLIB is being searched at the moment. This would also imply that ionospheric corrections that rely on Open Data could be applied by all GNSS users without significant investments, thanks to reusing existing infrastructure.
• The newest improvements and findings on MSTIDs modeling will be taken into account, resulting into less accuracy performance limitations
• Reduction in convergence times
• Hardware engine and embedded software implementation to allow low-power real time operation while retaining all the flexibility of SDR implementations, targeting specifically open, low cost and multi-frequency Galileo and EGNOS receivers
All these advances will be offered to the Precision Agriculture market in different key services, such as agricultural machinery navigation, data analysis service or variable rate applications.

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