Enhanced GPS performance provides benefits for mobile telematics market
Initial collaborative testing of enhanced GPS location technology by Cambridge Positioning Systems (CPS) and QinetiQ has identified a range of benefits to the mobile communications handset and device market. The rigorous test programme undertaken by the two companies is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July 2006.
The key aim of the project was to determine the ability of the enhanced GPS (EGPS) technology to provide accurate time aiding to narrow the range of the GPS signal search and to assess the benefits this can deliver. The testing programme, undertaken in a wide range of environments including urban and indoor, showed the EGPS technology provided accurate time aiding of better than five microseconds, allowing very fast acquisition of GPS satellite signals.
The benefit of accurate time aiding at this level is that devices now know exactly where to look for the GPS signal, collapsing the search “window” by a factor of 100. This leads to a reduced time to fix with lower battery drain and allows lower cost implementations in the mobile device or handset.
EGPS works by combining GPS satellite-based location technology, in this case QinetiQ’s award winning Q20 High Sensitivity (HS) GPS, with CPS’s Matrix technology, which measures network-based signalling. Under EGPS operation, Matrix provides an initial position and precise time to the Q20 HS GPS receiver. When the user initiates a location request, they receive a Matrix location instantly which acts as an independent source of position information that can be used in its own right or to initialise a GPS fix.
EGPS meets growing demand for seamless indoor/outdoor high accuracy performance, particularly to support personal navigation and tracking applications seen in today’s feature-rich mobile handsets and devices. It enables a faster indoor position fix, with much less battery drain, than conventional GPS, or A-GPS solutions, and increases the likelihood that the GPS calculation succeeds even in very poor signal conditions.
Jim Panter, the Managing Director of QinetiQ GPS Enabled Telematics, said: “We are pursuing important technology integrations between satellite based positioning and terrestrial communications which extend high accuracy positioning into ever more challenging environments to support advanced tracking applications.”
CPS CEO Chris Wade added: “Both companies share the vision that for GPS to become a ubiquitous element in the mobile experience, it must offer seamless indoor and outdoor performance – fast – without draining the device battery. It must also be at a price point that is attractive to operators and end users. QinetiQ has a long history in developing high performance GPS technology, and our collaborative testing of EGPS further underlines the significant strides our technology is making.”
QinetiQ’s High Sensitivity GPS has already achieved considerable success and is in use with many police and international public safety organisations. The QinetiQ Q20 HS GPS works in extremely low signal environments, such as city centres and even inside many buildings. The technology was named as the winner of the electronics category of the Institution of Electrical Engineers' (IEE) Innovation in Engineering Awards.
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