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SBG Systems drives GNSS+inertial in Paris

December 28, 2021  - By

Photo: SBG SystemsAutonomous vehicles require lane-level accuracy at all times and in all conditions. However, under many conditions, such as in urban canyons and tunnels, they may lose line-of-sight to enough GNSS satellites to achieve accurate and robust positioning or may have no signal at all. In these situations, they need data from other sensors, including an odometer and an inertial measurement unit (IMU). Creating reliable and safe autonomous navigation requires fusing GNSS and inertial technology in a multi-layered system.

SBG Systems and its partners LeoDrive.ai and Intempora, have been doing this to develop solutions for autonomous vehicles. SBG’s technology enables multi-sensor integration while addressing such autonomous navigation challenges as time synchronization, integrity, precise positioning and high-definition mapping.

“To ensure performance and build trust, we assemble our own IMUs from carefully selected industrial-grade parts, then we calibrate all our products individually,” said Laurent Le Thuant, business manager for SBG, in a recent webinar.

For safe operation, Le Thuant explained, the vehicle’s true positional error (PE) must be smaller than its protection level (PL), which in turn must be smaller than its alert limit (AL): PE < PL < AL. Otherwise, the solution is declared unavailable or reports misleading information.

In automotive tests conducted in a business district near Paris, an SBG vehicle was equipped with both a GNSS-only, automotive-grade multiband RTK receiver equipped with a PL determination algorithm and an RTK GNSS receiver tightly-coupled with an IMU and an odometry input. A comparison showed that the former was not suited for self-driving, while the latter significantly improved the solution availability, accuracy and protection levels.

For self-driving in the most severe conditions, even this solution requires integration of supplementary sensors, such as cameras, lidars and radars for precise localization.

About the Author:


Matteo Luccio, GPS World’s Editor-in-Chief, possesses more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for GNSS and geospatial technology magazines. He began his career in the industry in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World, then as editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. His technical articles have been published in more than 20 professional magazines, including Professional Surveyor Magazine, Apogeo Spatial and xyHt. Luccio holds a master’s degree in political science from MIT. He can be reached at mluccio@gpsworld.com or 541-543-0525.

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