Vodafone and Topcon Positioning Group are developing a new mass-market
precise positioning system that will locate Internet of Things (IoT)
devices, machinery, and vehicles with a greater degree of accuracy than
using only individual global navigation satellites systems (GNSS).
Vehicles, scooters, and even robot lawn mowers can be securely monitored in
real-time to within a few centimetres when connected to Vodafone’s global
IoT network and using technology from Topcon which corrects inaccuracies
from navigation satellite signals. Location accuracy is improved from a few
metres to just centimetres using Topcon’s dense European network of
thousands of GNSS reference stations, especially when vehicles and devices
are fitted with suitable antennas and receiver equipment.
Vodafone and Topcon have agreed to advance customer trials and Vodafone is
now inviting select customers to join pilot activities in Germany, Spain,
and the UK, starting this month. The companies aim to test the service,
called Vodafone GNSS Corrections, using a wide variety of devices connected
to Vodafone’s global IoT network – one of the largest with more than 150
million connections – and its pan-European network which covers 12
Pinpoint accuracy is critical to the mass adoption of Vehicle to Anything
(V2X) technology – the ability for vehicles to speak with other vehicles,
road users, and infrastructure – driverless vehicles, as well as for
autonomous machinery and robots. For example, e-bike riders could use
Vodafone GNSS Corrections to provide details of their exact location and
then alert other road users of their presence.
Justin Shields, Director of Vodafone Business Platforms & Solutions, said:
“As new technologies like autonomous cars and connected machinery continue
to evolve, Vodafone is providing the critical connections to support these
new services with greater precision, more safety and at scale. Our customers
want to be able to better locate their devices, and the collaboration with
Topcon complements our existing asset tracking and fleet telematics
Ian Stilgoe Vice President of Topcon Global Emerging Business said: “At
Topcon, we are proud to be partnering with Vodafone to bring high accuracy
correction services to enable V2X applications to operate at the accuracy
needed to help improve road safety, especially for vulnerable road users.
“Topcon’s extensive history providing precision positioning solutions makes
it an ideal partner for Vodafone utilising the comprehensive Topnet Live
GNSS network. Vodafone’s high accuracy services can also be used to improve
positioning performance of many other autonomous applications such as
drones, delivery robots and safety system wearables.”
Vodafone GNSS Corrections also supports Vodafone’s efforts to improve V2X
location accuracy, especially when sharing trusted data to help prevent
unnecessary accidents and fatalities on Europe’s roads. As such Vodafone is
offering precise positioning as a complement to Vodafone’s new Safer
Transport for Europe Platform (STEP) which allows entities to communicate
with each other where no line of sight exists. Unveiled in March 2022, STEP
has been successfully tested in Germany and the UK and will be made
available via Vodafone Automotive and third-party apps later this year.
Vodafone and Topcon together enable a high grade GNSS correction service
because of their respective terrestrial footprints across Europe. Vodafone
will offer a singular module configuration that can extend across national
Topcon Positioning System offers cloud-based corrections which are then sent
to vehicles and devices. In turn, these enable considerable improvement of
location accuracies when in open sky conditions – a scenario where the
receivers on the ground are positioned away from objects such as trees to
avoid obstructions or reflections from a GNSS signal. To provide these
precise positioning accuracies, a GNSS module needs also to compensate for
inaccuracies caused by satellite constellations, receiver hardware and
atmospheric conditions. These inaccuracies can be calculated by Topcon’s
dense network of fixed reference stations that constantly receive GNSS data.
A Precise Positioning Service also complements the existing asset tracking
and fleet telematics solutions already provided by Vodafone Business for
enterprise customers across 54 countries.
Learn more about STEP and the GNSS correction service here:
Unique in its scale as the largest pan-European and African technology
communications company, Vodafone transforms the way we live and work through
its innovation, technology, connectivity, platforms, products and services.
Vodafone operates mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries, and partners
with mobile networks in 48 more. As of 30 June 2022, we had over 300m
mobile customers, more than 28m fixed broadband customers and 22m TV
customers. Vodafone is a world leader in the Internet of Things (IoT),
connecting around 160m devices and platforms.
About Topcon Positioning Group
Topcon Positioning Group, always one step ahead in technology and customer
benefits, is an industry leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of
precision measurement and workflow solutions for the global construction,
geospatial and agriculture markets. Topcon Positioning Group is
headquartered in Livermore, California, U.S.