Researchers Develop Improvements to In-Car GPS

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Spanish researchers have developed a system of improvements that they believe will boost the accuracy and reliability of in-car GPS navigation systems.

\"GoogleA research team based at the Carlos III University in Madrid say that they can better determine a car’s location by “between 50 and 90%” in some cases just by adding simple motion sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes  to a typical GPS system.

The researchers say that the everyday GPS has a margin of error of about 15 meters in open areas, but that that number gets bumped all the way up to around 50 meters in more crowded locales. The newly added motion sensors, however, can continuously track the speed and direction of any given vehicle, which would then allow a GPS to track its location more accurately, even in tunnels. In a city, that margin of error could be dropped all the way down to 2 meters with the new system.

The tech could certainly allow today’s drivers to get lost less often, but it also could have a big impact on the safety and accuracy of future technologies like self-driving cars.

“Future applications that will benefit from the technology that we are currently working on will include cooperative driving, automatic maneuvers for the safety of pedestrians, autonomous vehicles or cooperative collision warning systems,” the researchers said in a statement on their findings.

The improved GPS system is only in its prototype stages now, but the researchers say that it can be retrofitted into any vehicle. And since the improvements are mostly made up of existing components, the cost of producing these things wouldn’t be very high.

The tech wouldn’t stop at cars, however. The team says that their next step is to integrate similar GPS improvements into mobile devices like smartphones.

“We are now starting to work on the integration of this data fusion system into a mobile telephone,” said the University’s Enrique Martí, “so that it can integrate all of the measurements that come from its sensors in order to obtain the same result that we have now, but at an even much lower cost, since it is something that almost everyone can carry around in his pocket.”

Source: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

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