GNSS, radars assist in all-weather vehicle positioning

September 6, 2016  - By


Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it — right?

Our lead authors this month are doing something about it.

The July cover story of GPS World magazine was titled “See into the Smoke with Inertial.” This month’s feature could have been called “See into the Fog with CDGNSS,” but we just didn’t have room in the already extensive article to go into that angle. So here it is.

Precise carrier-phase differential GNSS positioning will in the near future become a must-have complement to cameras and lidar for all-weather automated driving. Positioning will be furnished, as the article explains, by a dense reference network broadcasting to low-cost antennas for precise (10 centimeter) performance.

Here’s the kicker, not included in your cover-story package, although hinted at by the orange and green trapezoids on the cover, and replicated in the fog-bound version above.

Such vehicle positioning would enable new driver-assistance systems. With precise knowledge of a vehicle’s position and orientation, intuitive driving directions can be rendered on the windshield in luminous paths that appear to be painted on the roadway. These paths will guide the driver along the fastest route to destination. Other symbols will suggest lane changes for safety or efficiency, and highlight the presence of vehicles dangerously close ahead. Because satellite navigation signals are not affected by rain, snow or fog, they can be combined with radar sensors to safely guide a driver or an automated vehicle in all weather.

As author Todd Humphreys explains it, “Imagine how relaxing it would be to follow a yellow brick road safely home! I envisioned this augmented-reality heads-up display during a recent road trip. Driving on unfamiliar roads, I was trying to interpret various route options on my wife’s smartphone while simultaneously fielding questions (in Spanish!) from my in-laws, and more questions from my nine-year old son. It was too much to ask of one driver!”

Not any more. That is, soon, in our brave new future, no longer.

This article is tagged with , , , , and posted in GNSS, Opinions, Transportation

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.