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Wi-Fi and Sensors: The Partners-in-Crime of GNSS Simulators

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Man using a sensory equipmentYou may not be aware of it, but we’ve been using global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) for the longest time. Cars, helicopters, planes, and even mobile phones carry them.

Big companies such as CAST Navigation use GNSS simulators for technology training purposes without flying a helicopter or a plane every day. Accuracy and availability are key to sustaining an efficient satellite-based navigation system. But what exactly does a GNSS simulator need?

Connectivity to Wi-Fi

GNSS is a powerful autonomous geo-spatial positioning device and is strengthened even more with the use of Wi-Fi. Connectivity to Wi-Fi gives simulators accurate positioning even in GNSS-denied environments. Dependence on Wi-Fi may have several limitations in accurate positioning but will prove to be effective with GNSS functions.

Recently released smart watches feature powerful processors such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 1100 SoC, which uses Wi-Fi and cellular networks to augment its built-in GNSS, improving the device’s location accuracy and speed. A group of researchers at the University of California-Riverside (UCR) developed a navigation system that has the choice to leech on Wi-Fi signals rather than GPS if connectivity breaks.

Sensible Sensors

Since the performance of Wi-Fi relies heavily on location and time, it will be ineffective as a standalone complementary segment to GNSS simulators. Sensors are great additions to a navigation system.

GNSS simulators need a device to fuse all the multiple sources of position data, to give a simulator the best estimate of position. Sensors measure cumulative drift in degrees per hour. Not only does this provide accurate information, but it also makes the user confident in the system.

Just like Wi-Fi capabilities, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) sensors are also found in handheld devices, fitness machines, cameras, and even cars. These sensors, together with Wi-Fi measurements, give GNSS simulators an absolute position.

It doesn’t take a lot to improve a system. Although complementary, Wi-Fi and sensors play huge roles in streamlining GNSS simulation results.

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