HomeDigital Platforms & APIsVodafone satellite tech precisely locates IoT devices, supports V2X

    Vodafone satellite tech precisely locates IoT devices, supports V2X


    Operator partners Topcon Positioning Group, which designs and manufactures highly accurate positioning systems

    Vodafone and Topcon Positioning Group are developing a mass-market, precise positioning system to locate Internet of Things (IoT) devices, machinery and vehicles with a greater degree of accuracy than using individual global navigation satellites systems (GNSS). 

    Vodafone claims that vehicles, scooters and even robot lawn mowers can be securely monitored in real-time to within a few centimetres when connected to Vodafone’s global IoT network and using technology from Topcon – instead of within a few metres with navigation satellite signals.

    They can offer this GNSS correction service because of their respective terrestrial footprints across Europe. Vodafone intends to offer a singular module configuration that can extend across national borders.

    The companies are to embark on trials with customers trials in Germany, Spain and the UK, starting this month. The companies aim to test the service, called Vodafone GNSS Corrections, using various devices connected to Vodafone’s global IoT network, which has more than 150 million connections. Its pan-European network covers 12 countries.  

    The Topcon Positioning System provides cloud-based corrections which are sent to vehicles and devices. In turn, they derive accurate locations in open sky conditions, that is, when receivers on the ground are not close to obstructions such as trees or reflections from a GNSS signal.

    To provide pinpoint locations, a GNSS module needs to compensate for inaccuracies caused by satellite constellations, receiver hardware and atmospheric conditions. Topcon’s dense network of fixed reference stations run the calculations to overcome these distortion based on the constant flow of GNSS data.

    Vodafone says great accuracy is critical to the mass adoption of vehicle to anything (V2X) technology whereby driverless vehicles communicate with other vehicles, road users, and infrastructure and for autonomous machinery and robots. 

    Vodafone’s new precise positioning will complement to its Safer Transport for Europe Platform (STEP), which was announced in March and allows entities to communicate without line of sight. Apparently STEP has been successfully tested in Germany and the UK and will be made available via Vodafone Automotive and third-party apps later this year. 

    A Precise Positioning Service also complements the existing asset tracking and fleet telematics solutions already provided by Vodafone Business for enterprise customers across 54 countries.