A system that improves the precision of GPS in cities by 90 percent (w/ Video)

Feb 12, 2013
A system that improves the precision of GPS in cities by 90 percent
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed a new system which improves the ability of a GPS to determine a vehicle’s position as compared to that of conventional GPS devices by up to 90 percent, and which can be installed in any vehicle at a very low cost. Credit: UC3M

Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed a new system which improves the ability of a GPS to determine a vehicle's position as compared to that of conventional GPS devices by up to 90 percent, and which can be installed in any vehicle at a very low cost.

The system, which is based on sensorial fusion, was jointly designed and developed by the Applied Artificial Intelligence Group (GIAA – Grupo de Inteligencia Aplicada Artificial) and the Systems Intelligence Laboratory (LSI – Laboratorio de Sistemas Inteligentes) at UC3M. The prototype incorporates a conventional with those of other sensors (accelerometers and ) in order to reduce the margin of error in establishing a location. "We have managed to improve the determination of a vehicle's position in critical cases by between 50 and 90 percent, depending on the degree of the signals' degradation and the time that is affecting the degradation on the ," states David Martín, a researcher at the LSI.

The margin of error of a commercial GPS, such as those that are used in cars, is about 15 meters in an open field, where the receiver has wide visibility from the satellites. However, in an urban setting, the determination of a vehicle's position can be off by more than 50 meters, due to the signals bouncing off of obstacles like buildings, trees, or narrow streets, for example. In certain cases, such as in tunnels, communication is lost, which hinders the GPS's applications reaching Intelligent Transport Systems, which require a high level of security. "Future applications that will benefit from the technology that we are currently working on will include cooperative driving, automatic maneuvers for the safety of pedestrians, or cooperative collision warning systems," the scientists comment.

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Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed a new system which improves the ability of a GPS to determine a vehicle’s position as compared to that of conventional GPS devices by up to 90 percent, and which can be installed in any vehicle at a very low cost. Credit: UC3M

The greatest problem presented by a commercial GPS in an urban setting is the loss of all of the satellite signals. "This occurs continually, but commercial receivers partially solve the problem by making use of the urban maps that attempt to position the vehicle in an approximate point," comments David Martín. "These devices," he continues, "can indicate to the driver approximately where s/he is, but they cannot be used as a source of information in an Intelligent Transport System like those we have cited." However, in the case of the new prototype that they have developed they have managed to guarantee the position of the vehicle to within 1 or 2 meters in urban settings.

A combination of sensors

The basic elements that make up this system are a GPS and a low cost Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The latter device integrates three and three gyroscopes to measure changes in velocity and maneuvers performed by the vehicle. Then, everything is connected to a computer that has an application that merges the data and corrects the errors in the geographic coordinates. Enrique Martí, of UC3M's GIAA explains, "This software is based on an architecture that uses context information and a powerful algorithm (called Unscented Kalman Filter) that eliminates the instantaneous deviations caused by the degradation of the signals received by the GPS receiver or the total or partial loss of the satellites."

Currently the researchers have a prototype that they can install in any type of vehicle. In fact, it is already working on board the IVVI (Intelligent Vehicle based on Visual Information), a real car that has become a platform for research and experimentation for professors and students at the University. The objective of the researchers from LSI and UC3M who are working on this "intelligent car" is to be able to capture and interpret all of the information that is available on the road, and that we use when we are driving. To do this, they are using optical cameras, infrareds and laser to detect whether we are crossing the lines on the road, or whether there are in the vehicle's path, as well as to adapt our speed to the traffic signals and even to analyze the driver's level of sleepiness in real time.

The next step these researchers intend to take is to analyze the possibility of developing a system that makes use of the sensors that are built into smartphones, since intelligent telephones are equipped with more than ten sensors, such as an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, GPS and cameras, in addition to WiFi, Bluetooth or GSM communications, for example. "We are now starting to work on the integration of this data fusion system into a mobile telephone," reveals Enrique Martí, "so that it can integrate all of the measurements that come from its in order to obtain the same result that we have now, but at an even much lower cost, since it is something that almost everyone can carry around in his pocket."

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User comments : 13

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fmfbrestel
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2013
DGPS already offers considerable improvement over standard GPS without having to change the GPS receivers in any way, since nearly every currently available GPS receiver can already accept DGPS signals.

Besides, why are these Spanish researchers experimenting with GPS and not Galileo signals??? They already have their first 4 satellites on orbit allowing for end to end testing. Once the whole constellation gets up they will have (supposedly) 1 meter accuracy (without the addition of any DGPS type corretions).
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2013
and not Galileo signals??? They already have their first 4 satellites on orbit allowing for end to end testing.


Because it's not very precise with just four satellites which is the bare minimum for it to work at all, and it rolls in and out of sight all the time because the satellites are not in a geosynchronous orbit.
Anda
not rated yet Feb 12, 2013
To "clever" @fmfbrestel:

1.-Dgps is mainly for maritime use. There are some land stations and you usually have to pay if you want this kind of service. Do you use it in your vehicle?
Waas was developped because (from wikipedia):
"Unfortunately broadcasters of the required power generally cluster around larger cities, making such DGPS systems less useful for wide-area navigation. Additionally, most radio signals are either line-of-sight, or can be distorted by the ground, which made DGPS difficult to use as a precision system"

2.- Everybody uses Gps in Europe so you work to improve the system that people are using.

So you see, all you are talking is nonsense.
VendicarE
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2013
Probably because the launch of the Galileo constellation is about to be cancelled due to budget cuts.

"Besides, why are these Spanish researchers experimenting with GPS and not Galileo signals???" - fm
fmfbrestel
not rated yet Feb 12, 2013
On Galileo -- its an experiment, and they have an experimental constellation. It just seems like they are supporting the competition a little. Whatever.

DGPS is a proven technological solution that might require additional base stations, but nothing new in the receiver. Adding a bunch of extra sensors to the receiver just adds to the cost and complexity of the device unnecessarily.

As to WAAS -- it is essentially DGPS but implemented from other (non-gps) communication satellites. As such it cannot for the ionization errors in signals originating from orbit. Also, that section of the WAAS wikipedia article is entirely without citation, and this warning appears before hand: This article needs additional citations for verification. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2006)

But yeah, waas is also a better solution then the one presented here. This is a solution without a problem.
fmfbrestel
not rated yet Feb 12, 2013
Damn time limit on editing posts...

As such it cannot for the ionization errors in signals originating from orbit.

should read: As such it cannot correct for the ionization errors in signals originating from orbit.
Tausch
1 / 5 (1) Feb 13, 2013
@VE
Probably because the launch of the Galileo constellation is about to be cancelled due to budget cuts. - Ve


???

Germany's departments of transportation and interior secretaries disagree.
http://www.radiob...100.html

Of course this news is ancient - five days old.
Your post is four hours old.
Link. Please.
winthrom
not rated yet Feb 13, 2013
I might be wrong, but I thought WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) was a ground based precision GPS source placed at about 20 airports, which, when integrated with satellite GPS (from additional satellites to WAAS GPS receivers) provided near zero visibility landings in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).

http://www.cobham...gps.aspx

Since the additional satellites are US based, a similar system would be needed for Europe, and likewise another for Asia. The WAAS system would suffer signal problems in cities, as described in the article, thus the solution with inertial and gyro devices makes sense.

Only problem I have is I do not understand Spanish so the video is no help to me.
winthrom
not rated yet Feb 13, 2013
@Tausch,
My German is a little better, so I looked at that article. Seems like the Galileo is on schedule and still on budget (barely).
Tausch
1 / 5 (1) Feb 13, 2013
Where does the quantifier "barely" come from?
Raised bilingually so you read something into that article.
@VE Link please.
winthrom
not rated yet Feb 13, 2013
@Tausch:
"Wir konnten uns gerade davon überzeugen, dass die Serienproduktion von 22 Satelliten bei OHB auf Hochtouren läuft"
"We could >>just<< convince them into the full speed serial production of 22 satellites to OHB"

My interpretation. I used a bit from High school German and looked a few hard words up on Google. I probably got it wrong, but this is what I think was said.
Tausch
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2013
Good grief. I guess that settles it then! I'll have to convert to monolingualism from now on. No more translating science for me.

You done thunk wrong.

"We could convince ourselves FIRST HAND that the production series of 22 satellites at OHB is in full progress."

And that's a rough draft translation.
Close enough for guberment porpoises.
Not a high level critical R/D paper.

One last time, VE.
Gimme the goddamn link for your friggin source.

@winthrom
Level with me. What is at stake here? Can you talk about it?
Do you work at or for Comham? Third interest involvement?
All rhetorical questions, winthrom. Forget I ever posted this.

antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2013
Besides, why are these Spanish researchers experimenting with GPS and not Galileo signals???

Because the idea behind it can be used for either and because of this part of the article:
However, in an urban setting, the determination of a vehicle's position can be off by more than 50 meters, due to the signals bouncing off of obstacles like buildings, trees, or narrow streets, for example.

and this
The greatest problem presented by a commercial GPS in an urban setting is the loss of all of the satellite signals.

Which applies to GPS, GLONASS or Galileo signals alike.

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