Korean researchers succeeded in the world’s first commercialization of high-precision GPS technology for next-generation traffic that can be applied to self-driving cars and C-ITS (Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems) by decreasing GPS’s errors to 0.2 meters to 0.9 meters from current 15 meters to 30 meters.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport held next-generation high-precision GPS technology demonstration in a street test bed in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province on February 8.
The existing global navigation satellite system (GNSS), a GPS system used for navigation systems in cars and smartphones, assumes and indicates current positions through its own map matching technology even though location errors are up to 30 meters so the car breaks away from the road. The current GPS cannot work out for self-driving vehicles and the C-ITS which require high-precision positioning information.
Therefore, the ministry and the Aerospace Research Institute began to develop high-precision GPS technology in 2009. Late last year, they completed the development of fundamental technology. Then on the day, they held the demonstration for the high-precision GPS technology for land traffic. At the same time, they are developing the Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a technology to correct aviation GPS errors.
The new technology is characterized by a remarkable improvement in positioning errors since GPS carrier waves are additionally used in GPS codes for navigation products. GPS carrier wave is a high frequency electromagnetic wave which carries messages (codes) used to receive GPS signals by satellites.
The GPS carrier wave reduced the positioning accuracy to 0.9 meters or shorter by adding short-cycle GPS carrier waves and GPS correction signals from land base stations. Taking into consideration the fact that an regular lane is three meters wide, the high-precision GPS is expected to enable cars to switch to other lanes with high-precision maps for self-driving cars and the C-ITS.
Moreover, the new technology is compatible with navigation systems and smartphones loaded with current GPS chips, not giving rise to any additional cost. This point is expected to expedite the commercialization and spread of the technology. On the day, the transport ministry conducted the test while driving Bimodal Tram, a two-part hybrid electric vehicle with a high-precision GPS technology-powered navigation system in Ochang.
“This year, we will tentatively send out GPS correction signals and finish the stabilization work in the Seoul metropolitan area,” said a ministry official. “Beginning in 2018, the service will go national, making test drives of self-driving cars possible during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games period.”
“High-precision GPS technology will cut down on positioning errors of commercial drones and smartphones and be used in various sectors such as alleys and direction guidance for visually disabled people,” he added.