GEONAV IoT - Study of Hybrid 5G / GNSS Positioning

Margaux Fabius, Didier Lapeyre, Fabien Messager, Ian Kiely, Laurent Arzel, Axelle Pomies

Abstract: Introducing GEONAV IoT, an innovative positioning solution for both indoor and outdoor applications. Primarily the main technical characteristics of the solution are discussed, the three applications specifically addressed by this solution are described and finally the current achieved results are presented in addition to the foreseen perspectives. In 2018 and 2019, Thales developed the GEONAV IoT solution in the frame of the NAVISP program co-funded with the European Space Agency. GEONAV IoT is a precise positioning solution based on GNSS advanced algorithms for outdoor positioning and UWB technology for indoor positioning. The solution relies on positioning devices being affixed to the item to provide precise location. The devices exploit GNSS signals outdoors and UWB signals emitted by GeoNav IoT UWB beacons deployed indoors. Positioning information is sent from the device to a GeoNav IoT monitoring web application. From this point, Thales implemented a positioning library and navigation firmware for integration into the GEONAV IoT boards. A dedicated web application has also been developed to retrieve location information emitted from the boards. This first project demonstrated the ability of GEONAV IoT solution to address two applications: Elite sport in particular Rugby and Valuable Asset management. This work highlighted the future prospects of the solution. Since December 2019, Thales entered a European program, to collaborate with four European partners to maximise the solutions potential: Hertz Systems (Poland), ChipCraft (Poland), Drone Consultants Ireland and Telespazio France. The consortium currently coordinates on three axes: technological solution enhancement, autonomous drone application and proof of concept, and last but not least, create a European chain for GEONAV IoT industrialization. In this context, GEONAV IoT solution is enhanced by integrating multi-constellation and dual-frequency GNSS chip and algorithms: a specific dual-frequency multi constellation receiver called NaviSoC is developed by ChipCraft. Furthermore, the solution being developed is 5G ready: the 5G ready communication module enables the broadcasting of ephemeris and corrections from a newly implemented GEONAV IoT base station to the user terminal. 5G also enables the sending of secured positioning information from the terminal to the monitoring web application. These enhancements of the solution aim to improve the global performance, specifically the accuracy, continuity and Time To First Fix (TTFF). In this phase, the design of the solution has been updated on both fronts: hardware and firmware. Hybridization between 5G and GNSS is also under review in this project. As the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) market expands with the introduction of delivery and passenger drones, the new goal of GEONAV IoT is to provide a reliable position as part of the inner drone navigation system but also a monitoring application specifically designed to meet the drone operator’s needs. The new design of the boards enables GEONAV IoT to be directly integrated into the drone. Tests in real conditions will demonstrate the benefits of GEONAV IoT solution in providing reliable positioning data to the drones in order to improve safety and location reliability. The consortium is currently working on setting up a European value chain for the industrialization of the GEONAV IoT solution, in particular large production capacity of hardware boards and chipsets with firmware integration. The delivery goal is to prepare GEONAV IoT solution for market entry at different levels. This will be achieved by communicating current stage and end results of the solution on social media and wider audiences while meeting with major actors of each sector addressed. Moreover, this objective will be met by providing a significant field demonstration of the benefits of GEONAV IoT solution in the innovative the autonomous drone’s application. This demonstration will take place the 3rd quarter of 2021 in Dublin Ireland.
Published in: Proceedings of the 34th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2021)
September 20 - 24, 2021
Union Station Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri
Pages: 725 - 752
Cite this article: Fabius, Margaux, Lapeyre, Didier, Messager, Fabien, Kiely, Ian, Arzel, Laurent, Pomies, Axelle, "GEONAV IoT - Study of Hybrid 5G / GNSS Positioning," Proceedings of the 34th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2021), St. Louis, Missouri, September 2021, pp. 725-752.
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