Spirent, WMG and Chronos Technology collaborate to improve intelligent vehicle location systems

Innovate UK research grant will advance more accurate positioning testing for new applications such as autonomous vehicles

PAIGNTON, UK, 1 May, 2018: Spirent Communications plc (LSE:SPT), a leader in GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) testing solutions has received funding from Innovate UK to help research sensor fusion. The Enhanced Assured Location Simulator Leveraging WiFi and GNSS Sensor Fusion (ELWAG) project will develop better testing to assure position accuracy. Spirent will be working with project partners WMG, University of Warwick and Chronos Technology Ltd. on the project, which will last 18 months.

GNSS offers the opportunity for providing highly accurate position determination and developers are keen to exploit the additional performance offered through “fusing” location information from multiple sensors. Complementing GNSS accuracy with a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) inertial sensor, which is always available, and WiFi which also has good availability and accuracy but lacks integrity, results in a fused solution that has higher accuracy, availability and integrity than any of the primary sources.

For hybrid Wi-Fi and GNSS receivers to be developed, manufacturers need to verify their performance in a cost effective, repeatable and safe environment. The aim of the project is to develop RF modelling techniques so GNSS and Wi-Fi signals can be simulated in a development lab with sufficient quality to assure manufacturers the results are accurate.

 “Currently Wi-Fi access point (AP) plus GNSS simulation can only be achieved in an adhoc manner and this does not allow for the testing of moving vehicles, multipath effects, insertion of data errors, spoofing and above all controlled, repeatable testing,” said Mark Holbrow, Director of Engineering and Product Development at Spirent’s Positioning Business Unit. . “In the autonomous vehicle sector location accuracy can vary by up to 5m, which is un-acceptable from a safety perspective. Improving that accuracy to 30cm through sensor fusion will have substantial implications for autonomous navigation.”

Dr Matthew Higgins, Associate Professor in the Intelligent vehicles group  at WMG, University of Warwick, commented: “The safety and functional assurance of future autonomous vehicles will be one of the many critical paths to large consumer adoption. Through this project, we will contribute towards providing innovative solutions to the challenges of using sensor fusion in this testing context.”

Dr Erik Kampert, Senior Research Fellow at WMG, added “This is a highly technical project, which will require a holistic understanding of the signal propagation characteristics between Satellites, Infrastructure and Vehicles. The results will impact future autonomous testing methodologies”.

Prof. Charles Curry, Founder and MD of Chronos Technology Ltd. commented “Chronos is delighted to be part of the ELWAG project, adding our expertise to the field testing of the real world WiFi and GNSS environments and development of future-mobility multi-input navigation systems.

For more information on Spirent’s current GNSS testing solutions, please visit our website.