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New era for navigation technology

Successful development of a more powerful and more robust navigation system for the automotive industry promises to enhance on-road safety and reliability.
New era for navigation technology
Technologies such as the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) have become an important part of the lives of travellers, business people and tourists. This holds particularly true now that these technologies are rapidly being embedded in today's road vehicles. With this in mind, the EU-funded project 'Galileo receiver for mass market applications in the automotive area' (GAMMA-A) developed a cost-effective three-frequency GPS/Galileo receiver for more reliable positioning in cars.

Such a project is especially important in areas with low satellite signals affected by environmental elements or in built-up cities that hamper communication. Reliable satellite technology could eventually be used to avert or minimise accidents, intervening at critical moments to save lives. Against this backdrop, the project team worked on a receiver that finds its position very rapidly and maintains a strong hold on it even under challenging conditions.

In parallel, the team studied solutions for secure signal authentication and reduction of interference, enhancing responsiveness and safety requirements in a myriad of scenarios. It worked on cost reduction as well by integrating many receiver parts, and created a prototype supported by digital signal processing. Upon testing its prototype inside the car, the team observed an accuracy of 1 metre, which could become as little as 10 cm as even newer technology is integrated.

This bodes well for cutting-edge automotive applications such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). It also improves upon current navigation solutions, thanks as well to the development of a powerful new antenna for the GAMMA-A prototype and integration of leading semiconductor technology. Once these high-tech advances are exploited and available on the market, the automotive industry can reap the rewards of an advanced, more reliable, multi-frequency safety enhancing navigation system.

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