SAN FRANCISCO – Swift Navigation, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson and Quectel today announced a new industry vision for how precise positioning will be delivered to enable autonomous driving, mobile and IoT applications, supporting an interoperable and standards-driven ecosystem.
Precision positioning using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is today delivered using proprietary and legacy protocols that are not scaling to meet the demands of emerging applications. Building on the combined work of the companies, a new standard utilizing State Space Representation (SSR) technology will be released in the latest revision of 3GPP, Release 16. The 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project)—which Swift, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson and Quectel are contributing members—unites the world’s seven telecommunications standards organizations to define specifications and maintain global telecommunications standards. This milestone represents the first time a truly open and independently-governed standard has been available to support precise positioning—backed by ecosystem demand from the wide reaches of 3GPP.
This vision extends to any Internet-connected device by making new levels of precision available to users via standard Internet protocols, including the familiar Secure User Plane Location (SUPL) protocol, a widely adopted standard for mobile GNSS assistance data. Swift and its partners will support the same 3GPP messages via SUPL to test and implement SSR at scale. These services are currently available from established positioning services such as Swift’s Skylark™ and Deutsche Telekom’s Precise Positioning service, which are directly compatible with ecosystem hardware and software, such as Arm®-based platforms hosting Swift Navigation’s Starling® Positioning Engine and Quectel’s LG69T AP module, which utilizes Swift Navigation’s Skylark corrections service to help organizations develop high-quality devices that provide extremely precise levels of location accuracy.
3GPP Release 16 includes a fully-defined SSR format enabling Precise Point Positioning Real-Time Kinematics (PPP-RTK) at less than 10 centimeters using the LTE Positioning Protocol (LPP). This is in addition to the RTK support within 3GPP Release 15.
The vision of Swift and its partners presents a comprehensive roadmap for global SSR availability. Specifically, 3GPP standardization means that high-precision GNSS corrections can be communicated to user devices as part of the underlying 4G/5G signals (e.g., similar to a SMS or call connection). Connected devices benefit from seamless positioning coverage as part of an expanding network of next-generation, worldwide cellular infrastructure.
SSR corrections are also available via a standard Internet data connection. To maximize downstream access and compatibility via the Internet, Swift and its partners are supporting the well known SUPL protocol and other Internet standard protocols with SSR extensions. SUPL is a global standard that is independently-governed by the international Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and provides a backbone for billions of daily mobile device connections requiring GNSS assistance data.
In support of both use cases (4G/5G signaling and Internet delivery) extensive work was undertaken in 3GPP to produce a highly-optimized SSR format, including efficient bandwidth, continental-wide broadcast, seamless tiling without positioning jumps like traditional RTK and a new framework to extend positioning integrity for safety-critical applications.
“The announcement marks a historic milestone for wide-scale precision GNSS,” stated Fergus Noble, CTO at Swift Navigation. “This is the first and only independently-governed SSR positioning standard available today. Early SSR prototypes have been tightly controlled by commercial vendors, which hampers innovation and is misaligned with the interoperability demanded by mass-market mobile and automotive applications. 3GPP is breaking this mold with a truly industry-led and open approach.”
The effort to enable full SSR support in just one 3GPP release cycle is a powerful endorsement of the demand and range of use cases sought by mobile, automotive, rail and other mission critical applications. “It’s a game changer,” said Noble. “Customer demand is clearly reflected by the target markets of our project partners. It shifts the gravity of GNSS as a niche, point-to-point, high-cost technology, to a seamless, on-demand, connected experience.”
“The demand for cost-effective, highly-accurate GNSS solutions is ever increasing across not only automotive, but key precision IoT markets as well,” said Mark Murray, Vice President of Sales – GNSS & Automotive at Quectel Wireless Solutions. “The worldwide leader in cellular modules, Quectel is quickly becoming the first-choice solution for wide-scale precision GNSS deployments. We are proud to have developed the high quality GNSS and LTE modules the industry needs to take precision positioning forward.”
ABOUT SWIFT NAVIGATION
Swift Navigation provides precise positioning solutions for automotive, autonomous vehicle, mobile and mass-market applications. What began as the GNSS industry’s first low-cost, high-accuracy, real-time kinematic (RTK) receiver has evolved into a Swift Navigation ecosystem of positioning solutions for autonomous applications. From the nationwide GNSS corrections delivered from the cloud by the Skylark™ precise positioning service, the hardware-independent, integrated software solution that is the Starling® positioning engine to the centimeter-level accurate Piksi® Multi and ruggedized Duro® and Duro Inertial RTK receivers, Swift Navigation is enabling a future of autonomous vehicles to navigate and understand the world. Learn more online at swiftnav.com, follow Swift on Twitter @Swiftnav