Apple applies for machine learning GNSS device

February 18, 2020  - By

Logo: Apple

Earlier this month, Apple applied to the Federal Communications Commission for to a license to install GPS testing equipment on its headquarters campus.

This may be related to an application filed by Apple Inc. with the U.S. Patent Office in August 2019, which describes the company’s “Machine Learning Assisted Satellite Based Positioning.”

From the patent application:


A device implementing a system for estimating device location includes at least one processor configured to receive an estimated position based on a positioning system comprising a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellite, and receive a set of parameters associated with the estimated position.

The processor is further configured to apply the set of parameters and the estimated position to a machine learning model, the machine learning model having been trained based at least on a position of a receiving device relative to the GNSS satellite.

The processor is further configured to provide the estimated position and an output of the machine learning model to a Kalman filter, and provide an estimated device location based on an output of the Kalman filter.

In 2015, Apple acquired the small enhanced-GPS company Coherent to aid the speed and accuracy of its devices’ location services. Presumably, Apple intends to incorporate its machine-learning positioning method into its navigation software.

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About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.