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Software joins hardware at SBG Systems for alternative PNT

June 25, 2020  - By
Third Generation of the Ellipse Series of IMUs. Clockwise from top: Models D, E, A and N. (Photo: SBG Systems)

Third Generation of the Ellipse Series of IMUs. Clockwise from top: Models D, E, A and N. (Photo: SBG Systems)

Not just supporting players, alternative positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) systems strengthen, augment and — when needed — replace GNSS. GPS World explores how companies are using alternative PNT, and talks with Alexis Guinamard of SBG Systems about the company’s latest developments.

GPS World: What are the main challenges to GNSS that require developing alternatives?

Alexis Guinamard: GNSS technology can be easily disturbed by a wide variety of factors. Urban canyons or foliage environments can obstruct GNSS signals or cause multipath effects. Intentional and unintentional jamming and spoofing are also a big concern for PNT users.

Alternative technologies are developed to add robustness to GNSS positioning and useful features like orientation tracking (inertial + GNSS), or ultimately to work in pure GNSS-denied environments (SLAM).

GPS World: What is your range of products?

AG: We develop and produce GNSS-aided inertial navigation systems, but also provide a post-processing software (Qinertia). Our latest innovation is the third generation of the Ellipse series — our best-selling product — which is an industrial-grade INS. Based on the same inertial core, we integrated cutting-edge technologies, such as a multi-frequency GNSS receiver and RTK capability, within a miniature form factor.

A multi-constellation, multi-frequency receiver is much harder to jam or to spoof, which makes the Ellipse-N very robust and able to operate despite interference.

Finally, the new Ellipse-D, which provides dual-antenna heading capability, has been drastically improved in terms of size, weight and power.

Our post-processing software is compatible with all our INS products. So, we can post-process these data to obtain centimeter precision in a PPK mode. Qinertia is running a tightly coupled navigation filter to obtain the best navigation performance in post-processed applications.Thanks to the raw data output of the Ellipse’s sensors, it’s really straightforward to do post-processing with Qinertia PPK software and obtain the highest level of accuracy.

We worked hard to make the user experience as easy as possible. The latest version of Qinertia allows the customer to process either INS systems with GNSS or purely GNSS data.

GPS World: What are primary uses of your systems?

AG: We have many advanced robotics applications, including UAV, driverless cars, and agricultural robots. We divide them into mapping applications, remote-sensing applications and control applications.

Inertial sensors can help a lot for the control applications because we are able to reject false GNSS measurements in both loosely and tightly coupled schemes. We can also use them to provide a precise heading, which is required by many of these applications. So, I would say that advanced robotics is one of the major growth areas for us.

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About the Author:

Matteo Luccio possesses 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 or 541-543-0525.

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