Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have developed a new navigation system which improves the ability of a GPS to determine a vehicle’s position as compared to that of conventional GPS devices by up to 90 percent. The new navigation system can be installed in any vehicle and smartphone GPS circuits at a very low cost.
The prototype combines a conventional GPS signal with data from car-mounted sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes in order to reduce the margin of error in establishing a location, within six feet of its actual location.
“We have managed to improve the determination of a vehicle’s position in critical cases by between 50 and 90 percent, depending on the degree of the signals’ degradation and the time that is affecting the degradation on the GPS receiver,” David Martín, a researcher at the Systems Intelligence Laboratory, said.
Ultimately, the team hopes to develop a navigation system that harnesses the sensors built into smartphones, such an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, and GPS, as well as taking advantage of communications tools such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GSM.
The researchers have installed a prototype system on an intelligent car with the goal of capturing and interpreting all the information available while driving a car. The team foresees applications of the system in driverless car systems like those currently under development by Google and a handful of automakers.
“Future applications that will benefit from the technology that we are currently working on will include cooperative driving, automatic manoeuvres for the safety of pedestrians, autonomous vehicles or cooperative collision warning systems,” the team said.
This new technology is expected to reduce the margin of error from 50 meters in urban areas to as little as two meters. Rural accuracy would also improve from about 15 meters to around two meters as well.