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Launchpad: GPS chips, drones, mapping software

A roundup of recent products in the GNSS and inertial positioning industry from the May 2021 issue of GPS World magazine.


GNSS/LTE Antenna

Low profile for covert installations

Photo: Maxtena

Photo: Maxtena

The MEA-GNSS-LTE-MM is a two-in-one low-profile antenna solution that combines GNSS and LTE antennas in one. It is suitable for asset tracking as well as industrial and internet of things (IoT) applications. The antenna offers an ultra-low profile rugged IP67-rated design with a magnet mounting and customizable cables and connector options. The small size makes it a desirable solution for covert installations.


Enhanced Simulator

Supports Galileo OS SIS ICD V2.0

Photo: IFEN

Photo: IFEN

The NCS Nova GNSS simulator now fully supports the simulation of Galileo Open Service (OS) signal improvements based on the new Galileo OS SIS ICD V2.0. The NCS Nova GNSS simulator is a high-end, powerful and easy-to-use satellite navigation testing and R&D device, the company said. It is fully capable of multi-constellation and multi-frequency simulations for a wide range of GNSS applications. It provides multiple GNSS frequencies in one box. A key enhancement to the NCS Nova GNSS simulator is comprehensive support of new Galileo OS signal message improvements on E1B. By enabling real-time simulation of the Galileo OS message improvements, the NCS Nova GNSS Simulator expands the user’s Galileo signal capability.


Time Server

Defends against GPS jamming, spoofing

Photo: Microchip

Photo: Microchip

The SyncServer S600 Series network time server and instrument is now integrated with BlueSky technology signal-anomaly detection software. With the upgrade, the SyncServer S600 Series now provides GPS jamming and spoofing detection and protection, in combination with local radio-frequency data-logging and analysis. The Stratum 1 instrument continuously monitors local GPS constellation health and examines GPS and local RF signal integrity to assure validity. If an anomaly is detected, the solution sends an alarm and, if necessary, the SyncServer instrument can be shifted to alternative time sources or an internal oscillator. This protects ongoing timing outputs while ensuring only minimal, predictable timing degradation to vital network and business operations in applications ranging from banking and stock trading to electric utilities and aerospace and defense.

Microchip Technology,

L1+L5 receiver

Provides fast updates, multipath resistance

Photo: Telit

Photo: Telit

The SE868SY-D is a multi-frequency, high-precision GNSS receiver module for applications that require high accuracy, fast updates, multi-constellation support and multipath resistance. At 11 x 11 mm, the SE868SY-D accommodates ultra-compact devices and internet of things (IoT) trackers. Available now, the high-precision SE868SY-D module is Telit’s first multi-frequency, multi-constellation GNSS receiver module, featuring an ultra-sensitive -167 dBm (tracking) RF front end. By using both the L1 and L5 bands, the SE868SY-D supplies a higher location accuracy than single-frequency devices, even in high-multipath environments such as urban canyons.


Miniature Cellular Module

Photo: u-blox

Photo: u-blox

Optimized for power-sensitive devices

The ALEX-R5 miniature cellular module integrates low-power wide-area connectivity and GNSS technology into an ultra-small system-in-package (SiP) form factor. It is based on the secure UBX-R5 LTE-M/NB-IoT chipset platform with out-of-the-box Secure Cloud functionality and the u‑blox M8 GNSS chip for location accuracy. It has a 14 × 14-mm footprint and 23-dBm cellular transmission power, enabling devices to operate effectively in all signal conditions. A dedicated GNSS antenna interface enables independent, simultaneous operation of the u‑blox M8 GNSS chip. The ALEX-R5 is suitable for wearables and connected medical devices.



Data controller

Features 5-inch brightly lit, anti-glare screen

The Trimble TSC5 Controller with the Siteworks SE Starter Edition. (Photo: Trimble)

Photo: Trimble

The TSC5 is a rugged, lightweight field data controller for land construction and surveying. Its backlit alphanumeric keypad is usable while wearing gloves. The battery provides all-day power on a single charge, with an optional external battery nearly doubling the power for extended use. It has a lightweight, ergonomic design and is suitable for rugged environments, with resistance to shock, dust and water. Running on the Android 10 operating system, the TSC5 is fully integrated with Trimble Access 2021 Field Software and Siteworks Software as well as Trimble Forensics Capture. The EM100 Empower module provides GNSS connectivity.


Data management platform

Based in the cloud

Image: NV5 Geospatial

Image: NV5 Geospatial

INSITE is a comprehensive cloud-based platform that enables users to more efficiently manage geospatial data, from acquisition to delivery. With applications designed for electric utilities, telecommunications and governments, INSITE provides tools to support the entire geospatial data lifecycle — project tracking, data collection and delivery, quality control, on-demand reporting, analytics and enterprise integration. INSITE enables users to import, search, analyze, manage, integrate and export all types of geospatial data and multimedia. As a cloud-based platform, INSITE improves speed and efficiency, minimizes storage expenses and supports greater collaboration.

NV5 Geospatial,


Fleet Monitoring

Detects risky driver behaviors

Photo: Geotab

Photo: Geotab

The Surfsight AI-12 camera solution is designed to help improve fleet safety through its continuous recording and advanced machine vision (MV) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Offered by Lytx, it integrates with Geotab’s telematics platform to provide fleets with insight into driver behavior through a combination of MV+AI, sensors, and live video streaming. The Surfsight AI-12 provides distracted driving detection, audio and visual alerts and the ability to connect auxiliary cameras. Its MV+AI technology can help identify risky driving behaviors including smoking, eating and drinking, handheld device use, unbelted driver and distracted driver. When connected with Geotab’s GO9 device, it can also capture video evidence of sudden acceleration, sharp turns and harsh braking. Through access to these insights, fleet managers can help prevent avoidable accidents and reduce the likelihood of driver or pedestrian injury, insurance claims, maintenance costs and downtime.



Edge Subsystem

Suitable for rolling stock, automotive and heavy-duty applications

Photo: Eurotech

Photo: Eurotech

The BoltGPU 10-31 is a GPU-accelerated subsystem for machine vision and artificial intelligence (AI) applications at the edge and on vehicles. The BoltGPU 10-31 provides multi-constellation GNSS with untethered dead reckoning for geolocation. A factory option for high-precision real-time kinematic (RTK) GNSS is available. It also has Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 and option for LTE cellular. It is powered by NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX and combines a 6-core, high-performance ARM CPU with a 384-core GPU and 48 Tensor Cores, offering power efficiency and accelerated computing. The rugged, fanless unit allows for simultaneous execution of neural models and the processing of multiple high-resolution, high-frame-rate sensors, even in harsh environments.


Map system add-on

High-frequency change management for map platforms

Screenshot: Carmera

Screenshot: Carmera

Carmera’s Change-as-a-Service (CaaS) uses consumer-grade cameras from its fleet partners and customer vehicles to detect and log changes, reducing the cost of map maintenance. With a network of commercial fleet–mounted visual probes, it overcomes the problem of GPS canyons in urban areas using a blended algorithm to localize its auto-based probes with pinpoint accuracy. CaaS is designed to be an add-on to existing map systems (both HD and SD), and will identify, analyze and localize both road inventory changes and traffic-impacting events, such as construction. A live sandbox has launched in the San Francisco-Silicon Valley area for companies to test the CaaS technology on real urban and suburban streets.


Parking Assist

Indoor mapping for autonomous vehicles

Parkopedia is designed to address challenges in navigating indoor parking facilities: system blackouts, finding a vehicle within large parking facilities, and locating services such as EV charging stations. Parkopedia provides indoor maps based on high-definition 3D models of indoor parking facilities for in-vehicle navigation. Parkopedia technology can also be used for automated valet parking. Its proprietary SLAM system integrates lidar, IMU, GNSS and high-resolution imagery.


Marine navigator

Optimized for power-sensitive devices

Photo: Veratron

Photo: Veratron

The Acqualink NavSensor can be used with any multifunction N2K-networked multifunction display. Its GPS receiver module provides position, speed and vector data, and UTC time. The inertial sensor delivers pitch and roll data. An integrated fluxgate compass with a +/- 40° tilt angle delivers course heading and the information needed by a networked autopilot to stay on course. Built-in barometer and air temperature sensors offer indicators of impending weather changes. The radome has an IPX6 extended protection rating. It is powered by the NMEA network and operates between –4° and 158° F.



Tactical UAV

Field testing for USMC this year

Photo: Periscope Aviation

Photo: Periscope Aviation

The Periscope tactical-grade UAV provides efficiencies in flight time, endurance and payload capacity. Designed for military and other federal government customers, the high-performance UAVs accomplish mission-critical tasks with speeds of up to 100 mph. They are optimized for specific mission requirements including tactical resupply, remote communications, and enhanced C4ISR. In September, Periscope Aviation won a contract to deliver prototype Tactical Resupply Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TRUAS), which the U.S. Marine Corps will field test at Yuma Proving Grounds this year. The UAVs will fly 60–90 pounds of cargo to locations 10–20 kilometers away, delivering supplies such as food, water, fuel and ammunition to marines on the front line.

Periscope Aviation,

VTOL drone

Uses a closed hardware and software system

Photo: Fixar

Photo: Fixar

The Fixar 007 is a vertical takeoff and landing commercial drone with primary application in the mapping and surveying, monitoring, mining, oil and gas, energy and agricultural sectors. The intuitive approach to working with its ground control station simplifies use (flight preparation is estimated to take only 5 minutes). With inertial orientation, the Fixar 007 can work stably under magnetic anomalies and in the event of satellite loss. A wide range of modifications is available. The Fixar 007 uses a closed, specially designed hardware and software system that guarantees security of information. The applications and UAV use a special communication protocol that eliminates control interception.


Caged drone

For industrial inspections, first response

Photo: Skypersonic

Photo: Skypersonic

Skycopter is a ready-to-fly UAV designed to work in extreme conditions and tight spaces. The drone is enclosed and protected by an external ultra-light and ultra-resistant cage to ensure safety and avoid damage to inspected structures and to the airframe itself. The Skycopter‘s tiltable camera can record 1920 x 1080 video at 60 FPS while sending latency-free images to the ground in 5.8 GHz for first-person view on a display or (optional) high-definition goggles. It uses an ultra-bright LED system for applications in complete darkness. The Skyloc real-time location and monitoring system provides control and tracking with high accuracy in indoor scenarios or where GPS is not available.


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