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12 Sep 2022

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Vodafone Has Developed Satellite Technology Capable of Locating IoT Devices Within Centimeters

Businesses are increasingly using the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve productivity, track assets, and provide real-time insights about customers and their journeys. However, it cannot be easy to ensure that devices are in the location they're supposed to be when not in use.

Vodafone and Topcon Positioning Group are developing a mass-market GPS with improved accuracy over what would be available using only global navigation satellite systems.

Vodafone's global IoT network used Topcon's technology to correct inaccuracies resulting from navigation satellite signals. The technology allows the location of cars, scooters, and even robot lawn mowers to be secured in real-time to within a few centimeters.

The technology improved location accuracy with Topcon's dense European network of thousands of GNSS reference stations.

Both companies agreed to advance customer trials, with Vodafone inviting a limited number of selected customers to partake in Vodafone GNSS Corrections pilot activities in the UK, Spain, and Germany starting this month.

Topcon aims to test Vodafone GNSS Corrections, using different devices that share a connection with Vodafone's Global IoT Network (a network has over 140 million connections that beam across European with coverage in over 12 countries).

To support the widespread adoption of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology - the ability for vehicles to communicate with each other, road users, and infrastructure - and for autonomous machinery and robots, pinpoint accuracy is crucial. For example, with Vodafone GNSS Corrections, e-bike riders can provide distinct details about their locations and notify other road users of their presence.

"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, safety, and scale. In addition, our customers want to locate their devices better, and the collaboration with Topcon complements our existing asset tracking and fleet telematics solutions."

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. Commented Ian Stilgoe, Vice President of Topcon Global Emerging Business.

"Topcon's extensive history providing precision positioning solutions makes it an ideal partner for Vodafone utilizing the comprehensive Topnet Live GNSS network. In addition, Vodafone's high accuracy services can also improve positioning performance of many other autonomous applications such as drones, delivery robots, and safety system wearables."

In other words, Vodafone GNSS Corrections is aimed to improve the accuracy of its V2X positioning, particularly when they work together to prevent unnecessary deaths on European roads.

Furthermore, with its Safer Transport for Europe Platform (STEP), Vodafone plans to offer precise positioning data as an addition to its daily mobile services. STEP allows entities to communicate without requiring a line of sight. A new STEP version was released in March 2022 and has already been tested in Germany and the UK. It was made available first by Vodafone Automotive and later distributed to third parties.

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