How do you test an IVNS?

The integrated in-vehicle navigation system (IVNS) is becoming an increasingly popular feature in many automotive applications, ranging from relatively straightforward driver information systems right through to sophisticated tracking and fleet management systems. Such systems, which combine a GNSS receiver with one or more dead reckoning (DR) sensors, provide superior positional accuracy over GNSS alone, and are particularly useful in areas prone to signal obscuration or complex multipath effects such as urban canyons or deep-cut freeways with overpasses and tunnels.

Clearly, any navigation system requires rigorous testing, right through the product lifecycle from design to manufacture. But how can a system that combines both GNSS and DR sensors be tested reliably? And the question of integrated testing for an IVNS takes on even greater relevance when you consider that the whole purpose of adding the DR sensors to the system is based on the premise that the GNSS signals will be subject to interference and even failure.

Total control over the test environment is paramount. And that clearly rules out any form of “live” or “real-world” testing: the real world is simply not controllable. So simulating the required GNSS signals would appear to solve half of the problem. But how do you combine these signals with the outputs from the DR sensors? The answer is simpler than you might think.

Spirent's SimAUTO IVNS software is designed with just such applications in mind. The software can be used to emulate a variety of DR sensors, such as compasses, gyros and wheel pulses, and will co-ordinate these sensor signals with the company's range of GNSS constellations simulators. This creates a complete test environment for integrated navigation systems.

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