Alpine skiers might think they have trouble dodging trees on the slopes, but it's nothing compared to the plight of GNSS signals: Forests and terrain block and reflect the low-powered satellite signals. With advances in hardware and software, affordable tools for improving performance through trajectory analysis will become available to amateur as well as professional skiers. But GNSSes need help, too. . . and get it from MEMS inertial sensors.
Russia on the Prowl for Consumer Markets
Most civil users probably don’t know this, but the primary — or only — GPS signals that their receivers employ for positioning are more than 30 years old. That is, the design of those signals came out of the engineering technology and signal processing techniques of the 1970s. Today, however, entirely new and richly improved GPS — and Galileo — signals at the L1 frequency await implementation, and when that occurs it will bring about a whole new world for consumer and commercial GNSS applications. Members of the L1C design team describe the proposed new signal design and its benefits.
With mobile phones serving as the platform of choice for consumer GNSS applications, the communications network offers a built-in resource for making positioning faster and more robust. Counting the data and pilot channels separately, GPS and Galileo alone will bring 14 new signals on line in the next few years. Which will offer the best performance for assisted-GNSS techniques? A senior technologist at Nokia Platforms evaluates the choices.
As additional Galileo satellites begin coming on-line in the next few years, they probably will be broadcasting multiplexed binary offset carrier (MBOC) signals at the E1 frequency that most high-volume consumer GNSS products use. A composite BOC signal, the European version of MBOC, will be slightly different than the U.S. version — time-multiplexed BOC — potentially complicating mass market MBOC receiver design. But one team of signal experts presents a solution discussed in the GALILEO Signal Task Force.
Innovation the first link of the mass-market value chain
Fabrication technology delivers some amazing results — no question about it. But the distinctive value of GNSS is not to be discovered in the foundries of Taiwan or China. Rather, it arises from the imaginations and hard work of engineers and signal designers around the world.