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Vodafone tests new highly accurate location tracking technology

In a test, Vodafone successfully tracked a vehicle to within 10cm of its location using its global IoT platform – which has more than 110 million connections worldwide – and Sapcorda’s enhanced satellite navigation system.

This is an improvement of more than three metres compared with current standard satellite-based systems.

Such pinpoint accuracy is critical to the acceptance and mass adoption of autonomous vehicles on roads, in factories, airports, dockyards and any other site where machines move, Vodafone believes.

Ensuring the safety of passengers on a driverless bus, for example, will require vehicles to know precisely where they and other vehicles are at any moment in time. And first responders will need to know the precise locations of medical delivery drones carrying supplies, such as blood.

“We might not be able to locate a needle in a haystack yet, but we are getting close,” said Justin Shields, Vodafone Business Platforms and Solutions Director.

“What we can do now is take new digital services like this one, integrate it with our global IoT platform and fast networks, and offer it securely at scale to many millions of customers.

“Our in-building 5G and IoT services already allow manufacturing plants, research laboratories and factories to carry out critical, and often hazardous, precision work with robots.

“Now we are applying the same levels of accuracy to the outdoor world.”

Correcting inaccuracies

Vodafone believes large businesses will greatly benefit from such enhanced location technology, whether it is used for precisely aligning driverless trains at platforms, for example, or tracking autonomous vehicles used in agriculture, aviation and fleet logistics.

Vodafone’s IoT platform coupled with Sapcorda’s comprehensive network of Global Navigation System Service (GNSS) receivers and augmentation technology, corrects inaccuracies caused by the curvature of the earth, the atmosphere, and clock differences of global positioning satellites, for example.

The improved location tech, combined with video and on-board diagnostics, will also enable vehicle operators to carry out accurate inspections remotely and pause machines such as grass cutters on public footpaths when they encounter people.

Vodafone’s new Precise Positioning Service complements existing asset tracking and fleet telematics solutions that the company provides for its business customers across 54 countries. CT Bureau


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