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Vodafone developing satellite tech for IoT devices, autonomous vehicles with centimeter accuracy

Photo: Vodafone

Photo: Vodafone

Vodafone and Topcon Positioning Group are developing a European precise positioning system, Vodafone GNSS Corrections, that will locate Internet of Things (IoT) devices, machinery and vehicles with a greater degree of accuracy than using individual GNSS.

Vehicles, scooters and robotic lawn mowers can be securely monitored in real time to within a few centimeters when connected to Vodafone’s global IoT network.

Vodafone GNSS Corrections will use technology from Topcon, which corrects inaccuracies from navigation satellite signals. Location accuracy is improved from a few meters to centimeters using Topcon’s dense European network of thousands of GNSS reference stations, especially when vehicles and devices are fitted with suitable antennas and receiver equipment.

Vodafone will offer a singular module configuration that can extend across national borders.

Vodafone is inviting select customers to join pilot customer trials in Germany, Spain and the UK, which will begin this month. The companies aim to test the service using a wide variety of devices connected to Vodafone’s global IoT network — one of the largest with more than 150 million connections — and its pan-European network covering 12 countries.

Pinpoint accuracy is critical to the mass adoption of vehicle-to-anything (V2X) technology used for driverless vehicles, autonomous machinery and robots. For example, e-bike riders could use Vodafone GNSS Corrections to provide details of their exact location and then alert other road users of their presence.

Vodafone GNSS Corrections also supports Vodafone’s efforts to improve V2X location accuracy, especially when sharing trusted data to help prevent unnecessary accidents and fatalities on Europe’s roads. As such, Vodafone is offering precise positioning as a complement to Vodafone’s new Safer Transport for Europe Platform (STEP) which allows entities to communicate with each other where no line of sight exists. Unveiled in March 2022, STEP has been successfully tested in Germany and the UK and will be made available via Vodafone Automotive and third-party apps later this year.

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