Vodafone has successfully used new precision positioning technology to provide remote tracking of a vehicle to within just 10 centimetres of its location, an improvement of more than three metres compared with current standard satellite based systems. It did this in partnership with leading global positioning provider Sapcorda, using Vodafone's global IoT platform – the largest in the world with 118 million connections.
Autonomous trucks need to warn e-bikes of their presence to avoid accidents, first responders need to know the position of critical medical drones with pinpoint accuracy, and operators need to precisely locate precious cargo. Vodafone customers will have applications that do all that and more thanks to this new technology.
Pinpoint accuracy is critical to the acceptance and mass adoption of autonomous vehicles not just on the road but in factories, airports, dockyards and any site where machines are in motion. With remote tracking, a matter of centimetres could be crucial to ensuring the safety of passengers on a driverless bus, or knowing the precise location of a medical drone. It will also allow an autonomous truck to mind other road users, including cyclists, whose e-bikes can automatically transmit their position and intended direction of travel.
Vodafone is adopting the Precise Point Positioning – Real Time Kinematics (PPP-RTK) method with ground level GNSS stations to achieve the best error correction. Here, signals from global positioning satellites are processed and GNSS corrections are sent out to enhance the position accuracy of the vehicles receiving them. Vodafone is able to equip any number of vehicles with an in-built IoT SIM, and deliver the positioning data at speed using its gigabit-capable networks.