15 Feb 2016
Low cost, high precision GNSS module launched
Current SatNavs and other GNSS systems currently offer typical accuracies to a few metres. Now u-blox has brought to market a new module that offers centimetre accuracy within a very small board outline and for low cost.
By offering a module in this manner, the whole GNSS receiver system is incorporated in a single module enabling developers to import just one block into a design to enable it to work.
The u-blox module designated the NEO-M8P is compatible with both the GPS and GLONASS satellite-based navigation systems. GPS and GLONASS are the two currently stable systems capable of operation.
The u-blox NEO-M8P system uses two elements: a Base and a Rover. The base is placed in a known position and the Rover is then able to provide centimetre accuracy relative to the Base over a radio link used to send augmentation data.
The centimetre accuracy can be used in very many applications. One example may be a commercial UAV that is used to survey something like a dam. The Base could be placed at a known position on the dam, and the Rover incorporated into the UAV to send back images with centimetre accuracy for processing.
The u-blox NEO-M8P system can also be used for other applications like general surveying, for automated ploughing and reaping of field, for other autonomous machine control and for many other applications.
The u-blox NEO-M8P measures only 12.2 x 16 x 2.4 mm3 making it what the manufacturers claim to be the smallest high precision GNSS RTK, real time kinematic, module available on the market.
The NEO-M8P-0 Rover unit receives corrections from the u-blox base receiver, NEO-M8P-2 over a communication link that uses the RTCM, Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, protocol. The link only requires a data rate up to This enables a variety of links to be used from Wi-Fi to cellular and Bluetooth to any proprietary link. Using the RTCM protocol enables the interface to be standardised for easy implementation.
The RTK algorithms are pre-integrated into the module. As a result, the size and weight are significantly reduced, and power consumption is five times lower than existing solutions, thus cutting costs and improving usability dramatically. Customers can further reduce their R&D efforts, as they do not have to spend significant resources and time to develop an in-house host-based RTK solution.
RTK technologies have been used for some time in low-volume niche markets, such as surveying and construction. Due to high costs and complexity, this enhanced positioning technology has been inaccessible for most other uses. Emerging high volume markets, such as unmanned vehicles, require high precision performance that is energy-efficient and low in costs. Other application areas include agriculture and robotic guidance systems, such as robotic lawnmowers. The u-blox NEO-M8P answers these demands for a small-sized, highly cost-effective, and very precise RTK-based module solution.
“NEO-M8P lowers the barriers for innovative companies looking to develop equipment that needs high precision centimeter-level accuracy in a range of new markets and applications, such as UAVs,” said Daniel Ammann, Executive Director Positioning and Co-Founder of u-blox. “Today, most solutions are based on board-level-receiver products. NEO-M8P delivers performance that is simply a level above competitive offerings in terms of size and low-power consumption, thereby providing easy integration into customers’ existing product platforms, as well as a significant saving in their cost of goods.”
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