Researchers develop a Sensor System that improves the precision of GPS in cities by 90 percent

Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) 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.

According to researcher David Martin “We have managed to improve the determination of a vehicle’s position in critical cases by between 50 and 90%, the margin of error of commercial GPS used in cars is about 15m in an open field, where the receiver has good visibility from the satellites”

spanishThe 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,” said researcher Enrique Marti.

The system that was developed can greatly improve the accuracy of car sat-navs with combine efforts of a conventional global positioning system (GPS) signal with those of other sensors – accelerometers and gyroscopes; it can locate a car within 2m.

The good thing is that the system is cost effective and can easily be install in your car without complications. The system that was jointly designed and developed by the Applied Artificial Intelligence Group and the Systems Intelligence Laboratory – both based at Carlos III University in Madrid (UC3M) is promising in the car industry

There are limitations in some cases, such as tunnels where communication is lost completely and in cities where the signal bounces off buildings and trees, the calculation of a vehicle’s position can be off by more than 50m. At that point, the system reverts to essentially guessing the location. While this may be sufficient for in-car navigation systems, it would not be suitable for automated vehicles, which are currently being developed by the likes of Google.

The new vision of using smart phone is to integrate all of the measurements that come from its sensors in order to obtain the same result that they currently have now, but at an even much lower cost, since it is something that almost everyone can carry around in their pocket, the researchers insist.

“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, autonomous vehicles or cooperative collision warning systems,” the scientists stated.


Carlos III University in Madrid