Charting the Course: GNSS Pioneering Solutions that are Creating a New Paradigm in Road User Safety

Cell-phones, Jacuzzis and How This All Connects to GPS

In an interconnected world boasting over 6.5 billion smartphones [1], leveraging the abundance of location data at our fingertips can be transformative. Can we harness this information to make our roads safer for all users? This is what Eye-Net has set out to do. In this exploration, we’ll discuss applications that capitalize on location data, dive into the challenges and advancements associated with pinpointing accurate locations, and discuss how Eye-Net navigates these challenges to protect road users.

Let’s start with an interesting comparison:
What do Jacuzzis and GPS have in common? Today, the term ‘Jacuzzi’ is widely used to refer to any whirlpool bath or hot tub, although originally it was a specific brand. GPS (Global Positioning System) has seen a similar journey, initially referring to a distinct American satellite navigation system, but now encapsulating a broader spectrum of location services.

The Constellation of Satellite Navigation Systems

In reality, GPS is just one star in a larger constellation of satellite navigation systems, which also includes Europe’s Galileo, Russia’s GLONASS, and China’s BeiDou. Together, they form the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).
GNSS functionality, a standard feature in modern smartphones, underpins a wide array of road-related applications. Let’s take a look at some significant examples:

  • Mapping and navigation: Smartphones employ GNSS for positioning, real-time tracking, and navigational aids.
  • Fitness and outdoor activities: From running to cycling and hiking, GNSS enables activity tracking, measuring distances, and mapping routes.
  • Ride-hailing and transportation: Services like Uber rely heavily on GNSS for precise location tracking of both drivers and passengers.
  • Public transportation: GNSS technology tracks and monitors public transport vehicles, ensuring accurate scheduling and real-time passenger information.
  • Micro transport: From e-scooters to bike-sharing services, GNSS allows for efficient management and user-friendly experiences.
  • Parking: GNSS-based solutions streamline parking management, guiding drivers to available spaces and assisting in retrieving parked vehicles.

Unraveling GNSS Challenges

While GNSS holds immense potential, it is not without challenges. Here are some of the factors impacting GNSS performance and the methods Eye-Net uses to counter these challenges.
There are several factors that affect GNSS accuracy and can introduce errors in the positioning measurements. These factors include satellite geometry, atmospheric conditions, multipath interference, receiver noise, and the GNSS update rate.

Optimal satellite geometry with evenly distributed satellites improves accuracy, while poor arrangement can introduce errors. The Earth’s atmosphere, specifically the ionosphere and troposphere, can cause signal delays and fluctuations. Multipath interference occurs when signals reflect off surfaces, distorting the signal and resulting in measurement errors. Receiver noise affects the quality of GPS signal measurements, leading to longer acquisition times, reduced sensitivity, and signal dropouts. The standard GNSS update rate of once per second may be sufficient for navigation but not ideal for precise measurements like speed or track position. To overcome these challenges, there have been cutting-edge enhancements to GNSS technology.

On-Going Innovation Makes Perfect?

In response to these challenges, the industry is constantly innovating to improve GNSS performance. Some notable advancements include:

  • Multi Constellation: The ability of GNSS chipsets to receive signals from different satellite constellations. This feature improves accuracy, increases availability, and speeds up time to the first fix. Multi-constellation is now standard for high-volume chipsets used in phones and automotive industry. [2]
  • Multi-Frequency Receivers: These can use satellite signals transmitted on different frequencies, effectively eliminating ionospheric errors during position calculation.[2]
  • External Correction Data Utilization: Services like Precise Point Positioning (PPP) provide data that can be used to correct orbit, clock, and atmospheric errors, vastly improving GNSS accuracy.
  • Dedicated Vehicle GNSS Chipsets: Designed and optimized for the automotive environment, these chipsets offer superior performance compared to smartphones.

Eye-Net: Harnessing GNSS and Enhancing its Capabilities

Eye-Net capitalizes on the advancements in GNSS technology, using the GNSS location data from user devices to calculate collision probabilities. When a potential collision is detected, it promptly alerts the users, potentially preventing accidents and ensuring their safety. To compensate for the relatively low update rate of GNSS, Eye-Net employs a hyper sampling virtualization algorithm. This algorithm uses the object’s bearing and velocity to predict its location, significantly increasing the number of samples and enhancing the precision of measurements.

In scenarios where measurements may be affected by interference, Eye-Net utilizes dynamic thresholds based on speed. This maximizes data utilization and allows for more accurate predictions in high-velocity situations.

Protecting all Road Users

To mitigate the effects of interference, various techniques are employed, including multi-constellation and multi-frequency receivers, and advanced signal processing algorithms. Eye-Net, in particular, anticipates further utilization of techniques such as Precise Point Positioning (PPP) in mobile and automotive industries.
These advanced technologies, combined with Eye-Net’s supplementary algorithms, have the potential to protect all road users based on their smartphones, negating the need for additional hardware installation.

To learn more about Eye-Net’s technical innovation, feel free to reach out!;

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[2] Source: GNSS Technology Report 2020