Home / Weekly News / Project to improve positioning systems for autonomous vehicles

Project to improve positioning systems for autonomous vehicles


Industry and academia are collaborating on a research project aimed at developing improved positioning and timing technologies to enable better performance of unmanned vehicles, including automated cars.

Specialist in testing solutions for Galileo, GPS and other global navigation satellite systems Spirent Communications announced its new partnership with Cranfield University last week.

Spirent engineers are working with the university’s postgraduate researchers to develop new methods for synchronisation and location testing, using Spirent’s advanced test systems.

“Creating new ways to verify that autonomous vehicles are in exactly the right place is critical to the development of CAVs,” said Cranfield University’s professor of control engineering Professor Rafal Zbikowski.

“Spirent has been verifying GPS/GNSS receivers for 30 years so has a lot of knowledge that will be very useful to our researchers.”

Head of Engineering at Spirent’s Positioning Business Unit Mark Holbrow added: “Location awareness for autonomous vehicles is of major importance, and is one of the most challenging applications in commercial GNSS development.

“We will be working with Cranfield to create new test and development tools that will provide the opportunity for improved system performance, accuracy and resilience.”

Spirent is supporting a number of ‘individual research projects’ in the University’s Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control MSc programme as an industry partner. The projects already identified are ‘GPS-Based Clock Synchronisation for an Airborne Distributed Sensor Network’ and ‘In-car mapping and receiver integration testing for autonomous vehicles’.

Photo by Steve Jurvetson / Creative Commons