GPS Tech Breakthrough Has Big Implications for the Future of Transportation
Aarian Marshall reports on a breakthrough in GPS technology that will improve the performance of GPS for the masses—on their mobile phones, of course.
Marshall begins the article by noting that GPS technology is much more accurate than anyone who only uses a smart phone realizes:
Surveyors have used GPS to measure down to the centimeter for some time now. More precise GPS identifies signals at a higher frequency, called the carrier phase, but must use complex bits of mathematics to figure out locations. The problem is that this process is slow, and speeding it up to make it widely available to the public is expensive.
Enter Ray Farrell, a professor and electrical and computer engineering chair at the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, who along with some colleagues published a paper in the journal IEEE, which describes a breakthrough in "[combining] GPS measurements with data from an inertial measurement unit, or IMU, which is an electronic device that can measure force and angular velocity."
Marshall describes in additional detail the technological advancement discovered by the team of engineers, but the notable result of their work: "very precise GPS just got a lot faster, and a lot cheaper." Beyond the personal applications possible with the new technology, Farrell and team focus mostly on the Internet of things: specifically the sensors that will be necessary to drive a fleet of automated vehicles.