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Sierra Wireless launches Acculink Cargo, an IoT solution for asset tracking

Image: ipopba/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: ipopba/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Acculink Cargo provides a near real-time visibility, global tracking and exception-based monitoring asset tracking to serve the $30B+ global market.

Sierra Wireless has launched Acculink Cargo, a new managed internet of things (IoT) solution that companies can quickly deploy to track the location and condition of high-value and sensitive assets.

Delivered as a service for a single monthly fee, Acculink Cargo leverages Sierra Wireless’ expertise in IoT devices, global connectivity and the cloud to deliver a service companies can use to monitor the near real-time status of assets anywhere in the world, as they move through their supply chains.

Acculink Cargo enables electronics manufacturers, cold-chain carriers, general freight carriers, food and produce shippers and third-party logistics firms to gain the supply-chain visibility they require to avoid shipping delays, minimize dwell time, prevent theft and remediate environmental conditions that can lead to asset damage. In addition to tracking the location of these assets, Acculink Cargo can also alert customers if an asset is exposed to light, changes in temperature, humidity, shock, or other conditions that might spoil or otherwise damage it.

Drawing on more than two decades of experience in the IoT market, Sierra Wireless has designed Acculink Cargo to address the three key needs facing companies as they seek to track high-value and sensitive assets — real-time visibility, product-level tracking and exception-based monitoring.

Acculink Cargo benefits include:

  • Quick deployment. Acculink Cargo fully integrates edge devices, global network connectivity and a cloud-based application, supporting quick deployment in as little as 30 days with minimal startup costs.
  • Highly accurate tracking. Use of LTE cellular wireless networks in combination with GPS data enables customers to pinpoint the location of their assets.
  • Flexibility. The cloud-based application features an intuitive user interface with customizable dashboards and configurable alerts.
  • Configurable location and status reporting. Users can set up specific geolocation, light, temperature, humidity and shock conditions to monitor for each shipment. Users can also adjust when data on these conditions is updated, allowing them to extend the battery life of their edge devices.
  • Insights. Users can analyze real-time and historical shipping data to uncover trends that can help them make better business decisions.

“When it comes to high-value and sensitive assets, companies no longer want to just track their location as they travel through their supply chains. Today, they expect to be able to monitor the condition of these assets in near real-time as well,” said Rupal Nanavati, vice president and general manager of IoT applications, Sierra Wireless. “Acculink Cargo addresses these needs, with an easy-to-deploy, fully integrated managed solution from the global leader in IoT.”

Pricing. Acculink Cargo is sold on an as-a-service basis, allowing customers to easily scale the solution up or down as their business needs change. Customers can purchase devices up front, and pay for connectivity and the application on a subscription basis. Or, they can sign up for a complete managed IoT service, with a single monthly fee that covers devices, network and application access.

Acculink Cargo is currently available to customers throughout North America. Sierra Wireless plans to expand availability of the solution to other regions.

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Parrot and High Lander enhance drone fleet automation

Photo: Parrot

Photo: Parrot

Parrot drones professional users benefit from an advanced control during complex fleet operations

Drone company Parrot is partnering with High Lander, which provides drone fleets with autonomous flight, intelligent airspace control, and coordinated air continuity through its Mission Control platform.

Combining Parrot ANAFI USA and ANAFI platform drones with High Lander’s Mission Control software, professionals can now access drone features through an easy-to-use dashboard.

“Parrot is continuously striving to provide our professional users with extended capabilities — allowing them to rapidly adapt their drone operations to fit their changing and urgent needs,” said Jerome Bouvard, Parrot director of strategic partnerships. “Drone automation and intelligence are at the heart of our product and software developments. This new partnership with High Lander represents another step towards enhanced automation and control capability of our drones.”

Using real-time device reporting and telemetry, first responders can autonomously manage their drone fleets while performing takeoff and landing, route-planning, and other crucial tasks — all from the intuitive comfort of the Mission Control Operations Center dashboard. The software’s seamless interface paired with the ANAFI USA’s ease-of-operation and rapid deployment provide more safety for responders and allow faster intervention during critical moments. Mission Control’s customized live link generation can also provide team-members onsite with an instant view of a drone’s video feed for fast assistance during search-and-rescue missions.

For surveying and mapping missions, operators can use improved control modes including Path (which sets an automated plan including multiple waypoints, telemetric, gimbal and payload settings) and Modeling & Mapping (which allows operators to survey an area in detail) as they efficiently create 2D maps and 3D models using Parrot ANAFI’s precise GPS coordinates capabilities.

Operators can also benefit from Mission Control’s Payload Sidebar, which enables switching instantly to thermal imaging, an invaluable tool for missions in search and rescue, police pursuits, or solar panel inspections. Parrot ANAFI USA’s integrated FLIR Boson Thermal sensor and 32x zoom make it easy to identify thermal anomalies and centimetric hot spots from an altitude of up to 40 meters.

“As a hardware-free system, Mission Control is compatible with leading drone manufacturers’ solutions, now including Parrot, to provide our customers with the freedom of customizing their drone fleets with best-in-class UAVs,” said High Lander CTO Ido Yahalomi.

High Lander is working with a number of prominent organizations including police departments, sheriff’s offices, fire stations, and forestry services, and has 12 active clients who will now be able to use Parrot’s ANAFI USA and ANAFI drones in their fleets.

The High Lander Pilot app is available for download on Android and iOS systems for use with ANAFI and ANAFI USA platform drones.

For more information about ANAFI USA, contact Parrot through the ANAFI USA contact form.

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ColdQuanta awarded US government contracts for atomic clock

Projects will advance technology used for secure GNSS, quantum timekeeping and communications

ColdQuanta, which specializes in cold atom quantum technology, has been awarded two development contracts from U.S. government agencies worth $2.55 million. Both projects are based on the company’s Quantum Core technology, which uses atoms cooled to a temperature of nearly absolute zero and lasers to manipulate and control the atoms with extreme precision.

Prototype Atomic Clock

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD R&E) awarded ColdQuanta $1.8 million for the development of a prototype atomic clock that could enable reliable, highly accurate position, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities necessary for the functioning of critical infrastructure around the world. Atomic clocks are used for GPS/GNSS systems as well as for time-distribution services that are the basis of financial networks, computer, TV and radio services and other applications.

Alternative PNT. However, services such as satellite-based GPS can be spoofed, lack encryption or other security features, and often can’t deliver the signal strength required. Because of this, the development and deployment of a PNT system that doesn’t depend on GPS is a critical need across governments and industry, according to ColdQuanta. The company said this is especially true for mobile systems such as aircraft and spacecraft that need to know their position with great precision even when GPS is unavailable.

Under this project, ColdQuanta will deliver a state-of-the-art atomic clock with “instant on” capability if a GPS signal is lost, with a timing accuracy comparable to the best commercial clocks. It will also be ruggedized, portable and compact to enable its use in aircraft, and will minimize the power draw in between periods of demand.

“High-performance atomic clocks are the backbone of the internet, electrical power grids, financial networks, and autonomous navigation. Combining this with ColdQuanta’s development of related inertial navigation devices — such as gyroscopes, accelerometers and gravimeters — will lead to the first Quantum Positioning Systems,” said Dan Caruso, executive chairman and CEO of ColdQuanta. “We’re excited to work closely with the Department of Defense to meet their urgent needs, while also advancing the capabilities needed for future, unassailable global positioning technology.”

This velocity-distribution data for a gas of rubidium atoms confirmed the discovery of the Bose–Einstein condensate in 1995. In these three snapshots in time, atoms—cooled to near absolute zero—condensed from less dense areas on the left (red, yellow, and green) to very dense areas at the center and the right (blue and white). (Image: NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder)

This velocity-distribution data for a gas of rubidium atoms confirmed the discovery of the Bose–Einstein condensate in 1995. In these three snapshots in time, atoms—cooled to near absolute zero—condensed from less dense areas on the left (red, yellow, and green) to very dense areas at the center and the right (blue and white). (Image: NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder)

Miniaturized Ion Trap System

Also, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) awarded ColdQuanta $750K for the development of a high-performance miniature ion trap system. Compact ion trap systems are applicable to a spectrum of quantum applications including quantum networks, computing, metrology, and timekeeping.

ColdQuanta previously developed a prototype miniaturized ion trapping system with performance that is competitive with traditional, large-footprint vacuum systems. The system maximizes performance and robustness while minimizing size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP). The new AFRL award will build on the success of this prototype to increase performance, reduce cost, and create a robust architecture for deployable quantum platforms.

Bose-Einstein Condensate

The story of ColdQuanta began in 1924 with the discovery of the Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) — also known as the fifth form of matter — by Satyendra Bose and Albert Einstein. Seventy years later, BEC was first synthesized at the University of Colorado at Boulder in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for which Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman won a Nobel Prize in 2001. Their colleague, Dana Anderson, co-founded ColdQuanta, which is using the fifth form of matter as the foundation for its cold atom quantum technology.

When atoms are cooled to a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero, they take on quantum properties. Lasers are used to arrange the atoms, hold them in place, run computations on them, and read out the results. Quantum calculations, communications and sensing are the result.

ColdQuanta is collaborating with global customers including major commercial and defense companies; the U.S. Department of Defense; national laboratories operated by the Department of Energy, NASA, and NIST; major universities; and quantum-focused technology companies to advance products and services development with Cold Atom Quantum Technology. ColdQuanta is based in Boulder, with offices in Madison, Wisconsin, and Oxford, United Kingdom.

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Trimble announces T100 tablet, soil compaction with Earthworks

The T100 tablet is designed for use in the field. (Photo: Trimble)

The T100 tablet is designed for use in the field. (Photo: Trimble)

Rugged tablet operates seamlessly with Trimble Site Positioning Systems and Trimble Siteworks Software

Trimble has announced the Trimble T100 Tablet, a high-performance tablet providing fast data processing for construction surveying applications. The rugged tablet brings fast computing and a large screen to the field, incorporating:

  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) sunlight-readable touchscreen display
  • Directional keypad with programmable function keys
  • Large internal battery (92Wh)
  • Powerful Intel i5 processor for fast data collection, processing and quality assurance
  • USB-C fast-charging capabilities
  • Expandable dual EMPOWER module system, engineered to exceed the expectations of the outdoor field worker
  • User-configurable performance settings
  • IP-65 environmental specifications
  • Two bracket options for different display angles on the pole, enabling users to measure different locations more easily, with maximum flexibility for hard-to-measure locations

Optimized for Trimble Siteworks Software and supporting office applications such as Trimble Business Center, the T100 is suitable for both experienced and novice users. With accessories designed to specifically complement user workflows, the T100 avoids the burden of carrying multiple computing devices, while enabling users to complete quality assurance and quality control before leaving the field.

“The T100 tablet features the quality you expect from Trimble, with the flexibility to adapt to a variety of configurations and job site conditions,” said Scott Crozier, vice president of Trimble Civil Construction. “It is engineered to be ergonomic and portable on and off the pole, enabling users to stay mobile while they work, with features that increase productivity and reduce downtime.”

Earthworks Upgraded for Soil Compactors

Wider Range of Machine Types Now Available on the Trimble Earthworks Platform

The Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform version 2.4 offers support for soil compactors.

Trimble Earthworks for soil compactors is a GNSS-based, 3D compaction control solution designed to make soil compaction more accurate, faster and easier. Operators will experience the same intuitive, easy-to-use Trimble Earthworks software interface currently available for excavators, dozers and motor graders for improved productivity.

Trimble Earthworks now includes soil compactors. (Photo: Trimble)

Trimble Earthworks now includes soil compactors. (Photo: Trimble)

Compaction Control. Trimble Earthworks for soil compactors enables contractors to accurately control the compaction process, while reducing unnecessary passes that can result in over compaction. The platform makes the overall compaction process more efficient, with a higher level of accuracy and less rework. With soil compaction part of the extensible Trimble Earthworks platform, contractors can take advantage of shorter training times, less downtime and increased remote operator support in the field as well as benefiting from ongoing platform developments.

“Trimble Earthworks for soil compactors is easy to learn and more accessible for many different types of users because it leverages the intuitive Trimble machine-control interface and applies it to soil compactors,” said Scott Crozier, vice president of Trimble Civil Construction. “Adding this new machine type to the Trimble Earthworks platform gives contractors the ability to more easily manage their mixed fleets, train operators and manage jobsite data.”

Improvements in material/surface lifts and layer management allow for more accurate data and easier data management. Office-to-field connectivity enables efficient communication and data transferring across the project. In the field and office, contractors can easily interpret the valuable productivity data collected from the machine, such as work previously completed versus work completed that day.

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NCM hires Luccio as GPS World Editor-in-Chief

Headshot: Matteo Luccio

Matteo Luccio

North Coast Media (NCM) has hired Matteo Luccio as editor-in-chief of GPS World, the industry’s most-trusted resource since 1990. Luccio possesses more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for various geospatial, GNSS and positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) media.

“I am thrilled to help guide the editorial team of GPS World, the undisputed GNSS/PNT media leader,” said Editor-in-Chief Matteo Luccio. “Our content will continue to be driven by our unparalleled audited audience of 54,000-plus engineers designing solutions to today’s most-pressing GNSS/PNT challenges.”

Luccio began his career in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World. After that, he served as editor and publisher of GPS User, and editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. He has served as a columnist for Professional Surveyor, a contributing writer for Apogeo Spatial and xyHt, and a special correspondent for Sensors and Systems. He also has written for ArcNews, ArcWatch, GeoWorld, GIM International, and GEO Informatics.

The past several years, Matteo has served as a GPS World contributing editor, reporting on new technologies and applications for GNSS receivers, antennas, simulators, and alternative PNT solutions. Luccio holds a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Luccio will work closely with Marty Whitford, Editorial Director and Publisher; Tracy Cozzens, Senior Editor; Diane Sofranec, Staff Editor; Wes Temple, Digital Media Editor; and Charles Park, Art Director.

“Matteo has come full circle, returning full time to GPS World, where he began his stellar GNSS/PNT career,” Whitford said. “We’re excited to have Matteo share GPS World’s edit helm, helping our readers and marketing partners position for maximum growth for years to come.”

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Prince Philip championed GPS as Master of Trinity House

The official portrait of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Master of Trinity House. (Image: Trinity House)

The official portrait of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Master of Trinity House. (Image: Trinity House)

Prince Philip, technology advocate, championed both GPS and alternative navigation methods during his lifetime.

Prince Philip — the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom — died on April 9 at Windsor Castle in England. He was 99. His funeral will take place April 17.

As the Master of Trinity House, Prince Philip was the U.K.’s authority for lighthouses in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Trinity House is also responsible for the provision and maintenance of other navigational aids, such as light vessels, buoys and maritime radio/satellite communication systems.

In its extensive coverage of his death, the BBC aired a radio program in its World Service that mentioned the prince’s knowledge and concern about GPS. “As Master of Trinity House, he was infuriated that people didn’t understand what would happen if GPS were shot down,” said the narrator.

Real Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert was Prince Philip’s deputy master at Trinity House. “ Prince Philip from the very beginning understood that it was a single point of failure,” de Halpert told the BBC. “GPS can be jammed very easily… He encouraged us to move ahead and make sure the country has a failsafe backup, which we have done, and it is now operational.”

In 2019, the General Lighthouse Authorities established full operational capability of its eLoran system as a backup to GPS.

Below is the section of the documentary where the prince’s support for GPS and a GPS backup is discussed.



GPS World thanks Innovation editor Richard Langley for sharing the material.

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New XPeng P5 auto outfitted with 32 autonomous driving sensors

XPeng Motors‘ new XPeng P5 smart electric vehicle is equipped with automotive-grade lidar technology. The P5 has “navigation guided pilot” (NGP) capabilities, which will be on China’s city roads for the first time in a production vehicle, powered by XPeng’s full-stack in-house developed autonomous driving system XPILOT 3.5.

The XPILOT 3.5 autonomous driving system has a high-precision positioning unit (GNSS + inertial measurement unit, or IMU) along with 32 perception sensors — two lidar units, 12 ultrasonic sensors, five millimeter-wave radars and 13 high-resolution cameras. The sensors are fused into a 360° dual-perception system to provide sufficient redundancy to handle challenging and complex road conditions.

The double-prism lidar units are able to distinguish pedestrians, cyclists and scooters, static obstacles, and road work, in challenging scenarios such as night and low-light conditions, backlighting and alternating light-and-dark illumination in tunnels.

Extending the NGP function from highways to city diving, the P5 will be able to handle situations such as other autos cutting in, automatic follow and speed-limit optimization on urban roads, recognizing traffic lights as well as small objects.

The P5’s Xmart OS 3.0 in-car operation system supports  all-voice interaction. It uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SA8155P auto-grade computing platform to ensure seamless user control and interaction. The instrument console includes a 15.6-inch screen with essential information and controls where the driver needs them. Xmart OS 3.0 also allows vehicle-to-home connection.

The P5 will be featured at Auto Shanghai 2021 on April 19.

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Honeywell demonstrates military-grade alternative navigation tech

Image: Pulvas/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: Pulvas/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

New technologies use a variety of inputs to help ensure seamless navigation, even when GPS reception fails because of interference or jamming.

Honeywell has successfully demonstrated multiple alternate navigation technologies for military aircraft. These new products are intended to help ensure seamless navigation — even when GPS signals are blocked, interrupted or unavailable.

For military operations, GPS-jamming — intentional or not — can block vital signals from conveying critical information regarding positioning, navigation and timing (PNT). In these instances, it’s important for military vehicles and aircraft to be equipped with alternative navigation technologies, like celestial or vision navigation, to maintain operational readiness.

“For military operations, not having access to critical positioning and timing information can make or break a mission,” said Matt Picchetti, vice president and general manager, Navigation & Sensors, Honeywell Aerospace. “We’re very excited to roll out this robust lineup of alternate navigation solutions, which are specifically designed to address the needs of our military customers and give them the added layers of redundancy needed to successfully carry out their operations, even if they lose access to GPS signals.”

Alternate navigation technologies provide a different means of measuring position, velocity and heading when GPS is disrupted. These technologies include:

  • Vision-aided navigation. This technology uses a live optical or infrared camera feed and compares it with maps to provide a passive, not jammable, highly accurate alternative PNT solution that provides GPS-like accuracy in GPS-denied or jammed conditions.
  • Celestial-aided navigation. Honeywell’s celestial-aided navigation technology observes stars and “reference objects” orbiting the earth such as satellites, which have known positions and velocities. This technology compares those reference objects to stars and can determine position and velocity, the same way a GPS receiver can.
  • Magnetic anomaly-aided navigation. This navigation technology measures magnetic strength using sensors and compares this data with known geographical magnetic maps to accurately identify the position of the aircraft relative to the Earth.

Prototypes of these alternate navigation systems will be available in 2022, with initial deliveries expected to start in 2023.

Honeywell navigation systems are used by nearly every aircraft flying to guide millions of passengers to their destinations. Since 1914 when the first autopilot used Honeywell gyroscopes to hold the plane stable during flight, Honeywell has delivered more than 500,000 high-performance inertial sensors across several platforms on land, in the air and at sea.

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Registration opens for ION GNSS+ 2021 in St. Louis

The ION GNSS+ 2021 technical program is online, and registration for the event is now open. ION GNSS+ 2021 takes place Sept. 20-24 at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.

ION GNSS+ 2021: GNSS + Other Sensors in Today’s Marketplace, is the 34th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of the Institute of Navigation, and the world’s largest technical meeting and showcase of GNSS and GNSS-related technology, products and services.

“It’s exciting to be meeting in-person in St. Louis,” said Lisa Beaty, ION executive director. “We are expecting a pent-up demand as the community is eager to convene and get caught up. The ION GNSS+ 2021 technical and commercial exhibit is the best opportunity of the year to see what’s been happening in PNT [positioning, navigation and timing].”

ION GNSS+ 2021 features more than 300 technical presentations under two technical tracks: Commercial and Policy, and Research. The opening Plenary Session will feature two keynote addresses: “Towards a Smart Digital Reality: Building a Sustainable Future,” presented by Burkhard Boeckem, and “Artemis: Return to the Moon” presented by Steven Clarke, NASA.

For those unable to attend in person, ION GNSS+ 2021 will include a virtual option. Registration offers access to all on-demand conference content, live streams of select sessions, proceedings, as well as recordings of the sessions that were live streamed during the conference. ION GNSS+ Virtual Registration includes virtual contact with ION GNSS+ exhibitors and CGSIC’s technical program.

To view the ION GNSS+ 2021 technical program and to register, go to ion.org/gnss.

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Verizon’s RTK precise location service launches in 100+ US markets

Hyper Precise Location (HPL), a real-time kinematics (RTK) service, is now available via Verizon ThingSpace to customers and application developers in more than 100 U.S. markets. When paired with Verizon’s 5G Edge capabilities, HPL provides precise positioning data for emerging cellular-vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology, which is necessary for certain safety applications.

Verizon recently teamed with automakers to demonstrate vehicle-pedestrian safety scenarios made possible through HPL, 5G Edge and C-V2X.

HPL is software as a service (SaaS) that provides a stream of real-time GNSS correction data to device receivers, enabling location accuracy within 1-2 centimeters, for users on 5G and 4G networks. This can enable high-scale, low-cost, centimeter-level location capabilities for industries such as automotive, HD mapping, robotics, construction, and smart agriculture (AgriTech). Designed and deployed in a privacy-protective manner, HPL does not store or share user location data.

HPL embraces open delivery standards including RTCM for its data streams, with others to be added on a rolling basis. IoT devices using HPL can be accessed and managed through a user API and the ThingSpace IoT management platform. Support resources on ThingSpace will detail API integration, coverage availability, and more.

“Hyper Precise Location stands to boost or enable next-gen technologies across industries, from intelligent-driving to drone delivery to highly automated operations within construction, agriculture, and much more,” said TJ Fox, SVP of Industrial IoT and automotive for Verizon Business. “HPL’s fast expanding coverage area, API friendliness, privacy protection, and use of open-delivery standards make it ideal for developers and customers demanding precision and flexibility.”

In August, Verizon announced it is also developing HPL next-gen road safety and highly advanced driving solutions through partnerships with location and mapping expert HERE Technologies (HERE) and Renovo, the automotive software company. HPL can also support other emerging technologies that depend on high-level location accuracy, such as delivery drones, and advanced IoT applications, such as infrastructure monitoring, critical asset tracking, and high value shipping.


Feature image: loveguli/E+/Getty Images