Swift Navigation: Driving safety for consumers

September 15, 2022  - By

An interview with Fergus Noble, CTO at Swift Navigation about recent GNSS receiver innovations.

Fergus Noble


What was the most significant technical innovation in your GNSS receivers in the past five years?

At Swift Navigation, our mission has been to bring precise positioning technology to the mass market. We focus on the applications that touch our everyday lives — automotive, transportation, robotics and mobile devices. To realize that mission, we have had to innovate beyond traditional GNSS techniques. There are three areas where Swift has had to push the boundaries of GNSS technology: scalability, affordability and safety.

To meet the scalability needs of applications — such as automotive ones, which require continental-scale coverage for millions of devices — we have had to develop new techniques for providing GNSS corrections. We have developed new algorithms to precisely model the Earth’s atmosphere and other sources of GNSS error over wide areas in real-time and deliver them via scalable state-space representation (SSR) format.

To make the technology affordable, we have partnered with GNSS chipset providers to bring precise positioning performance to vehicles and consumer devices that was previously only achievable using expensive industrial receivers.

Swift brings to vehicles precise positioning that was previously only achievable with expensive industrial receivers. (Photo: metamorworks/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Swift brings to vehicles precise positioning that was previously only achievable with expensive industrial receivers. (Photo: metamorworks/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

To make the technology safe, we have developed the most sophisticated end-to-end positioning integrity system available today. This integrity provides our customers with the guarantee of safety needed for autonomous and industrial applications, as well as certifying to industry safety standards such as ISO-26262 (ASIL).

What has it enabled users to do that they could not do before?

Previous precise positioning solutions did not apply to applications such as autonomous driving as they were too costly to go into a vehicle, had the required accuracy only in limited coverage areas, and could not provide the guarantees of integrity such that they could be relied upon as a safety-critical sensor. The same limitations applied to last-mile transportation, consumer robotics — such as lawnmowers — and even mobile applications.

Swift’s technology enables our customers to unlock these use cases by providing reliable and seamless precise positioning to our users at continental scale.

What is a good example of this?

Swift’s technology is now powering one of the largest vehicle fleets on the road today equipped with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). It improves vehicle positioning for an enhanced user experience when navigating, as well as to upgrade the ADAS functionality.

We also have customers using our technology to track and improve safety across a continent-wide rail network, provide precise position to improve the efficiency of last-mile delivery fleets, and a host of other applications across both emerging and traditional GNSS markets.

About the Author: Matteo Luccio

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@northcoastmedia.net or 541-543-0525.