Mar 2020 | No Comment

The ION releases the GNSS Software Defined Radio (SDR) metadata standard

The Institute of Navigation’s (ION) GNSS Software Defined Radio Metadata Standard document has been published and is available at

The Global Navigation Satellite Systems Software Defined Radio Sample Data Metadata Standard is the product of a three year long effort of the ION GNSS SDR Standard Working Group and defines parameters and schema to express the contents of SDR sample data files. The standard promotes the interoperability of GNSS SDR data collection systems and processors.

In recent years there has been a proliferation of software defined radio (SDR) data collection systems and processing platforms designed for Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver applications or those that support GNSS bands. For postprocessing, correctly interpreting the GNSS SDR sampled datasets produced or consumed by these systems has historically been a cumbersome and error-prone process. This is because these systems necessarily produce datasets of various formats, the subtleties of which are often lost in translation when communicating between the producer and consumer of these datasets. This specification standardizes the metadata associated with GNSS SDR sampled data files and the layout of the binary sample files.T he formal standards document is free and available at

Third GPS III Satellite delivered

Lockheed Martin in Denver has shipped its third GPS III satellite to Cape Canaveral for the U.S. Space Force’s “first” GPS III launch in April. GPS III Space Vehicle 03 (GPS III SV03), nicknamed “Columbus” by the GPS III governmentindustry team, shipped out of Buckley Air Force base on Feb. 5. Meanwhile, the first GPS III satellite (GPS III SV01) was declared operational in January; GPS III SV02, launched in August, has completed on-orbit testing, and is ready and waiting to join the GPS constellation; and, also in January, GPS III SV04 was declared “Available for Launch.”

Centimetre-level positioning for autonomous vehicles

A multi-partner European project has achieved positioning accuracy for an autonomous truck using data from the Galileo GNSS, in combination with other positioning and sensor technologies.

Autonomous vehicles and their advanced driver assistance systems need robust and precise positioning information to enable reliable operations, which will be particularly important during the early transitional phase of the technology, when other vehicles around them will not be automated. The new and innovative positioning solution was developed in the European PRoPART (Precise and Robust Positioning for Automated Road Transports) project, which has involved Swedish truck maker Scania and six other partners. The project team believes the centimetre-level positioning system could be a key enabler for autonomous transport in the future.

The solution was demonstrated in a recreated motorway situation at the AstaZero test facility in Sweden, with a connected autonomous truck and two unconnected manned cars. As part of the test, a Scania self-driving truck executed a safe and efficient lane change in traffic. The manoeuvre was managed by the new system, relying on centimetrelevel positioning combined with collaborative perception sensor data.

The project demonstrated that it was possible to pinpoint the position with 10cm (4-inch) accuracy. The truck could execute the manoeuvre due to the precise positioning and an accurate representation of the whole surrounding environment. This was achieved by fusing data from the truck’s camera and front and side radars combined with radars mounted on roadside units (RSUs)

Turkish satnav station opens in Antarctica

Turkish specialists have opened a GNSS base station in Antarctica, Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said.

The Fourth Antarctic Expedition of Turkey began on Feb. 9 under the coordination of the Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) Polar Research Institute. The GNSS station operates on Dismal Island, 73 kilometres (45 miles) from Horseshoe Island, where the temporary Turkish science base is located.

The 24-member Turkish research team joins 15 scientific projects in the Earth, life, and marine sciences. The expedition is being conducted under the auspices of the Turkish Presidential Administration and the Ministry of Industry and Technology and coordinated by the TUBITAK.

Russia to launch 9 Glonass-K Navigation Satellites by 2022

Russian satellite maker ISS-Reshetnev will add nine next-generation Glonass-K satellites to the constellation of the global navigation satellite system by 2022, the firm›s spokesman said.

At the moment, the group consists of 26 Glonass-M satellites and two test variants of the next-generation Glonass-K. New variant, Glonass-K2, will be introduced in 2023.

Four new Chinese Beidou GNSS satellites declared operational

Four new satellites for the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) recently passed technical and system tests and checks in orbit, and have started operations within the BeiDou global navigation satellite servive (GNSS) network, according to China’s Satellite Navigation System Management Office. The four new satellites are the 41st, 49th, 50th, and 51st satellites within the BDS GNSS constrellation. https://spacewatch. global/2020/02/four-new-chinese-beidougnss- satellites-declared-operational/

Trump demands protection for GPS-based transportation

President of the USA, Donald Trump issued an executive order aimed at protecting and promoting GPS for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) services used in transportation systems.

“Because of the widespread adoption of PNT services, the disruption or manipulation of these services has the potential to adversely affect the national and economic security of the United States,” the order states. «To strengthen national resilience, the Federal Government must foster the responsible use of PNT services by critical infrastructure owners and operators.»

The order requires that within 180 days the Secretary of Transportation, along with other cabinet agency heads, is to develop a pilot program to evaluate the responsible use of PNT services with infrastructure owners and operators. The pilot is to be completed within one year of creating an initial plan, with results used to develop a “PNT profile” and to inform opportunities for research and development.

“PNT services, such as [GPS], are critical to the safe and efficient use of the national transportation system by the traveling public, the freight community, other commercial and private entities,” the U.S. Department of Transportation said in a statement.

“The Department is committed to working with industry, as well as the other departments and agencies, to ensure expeditious implementation of the framework and resulting transportation PNT profiles. Our challenge is to enable increased resilience across our transportation systems and ensure the traveling public and freight transporters experience an increased level of safety and efficiency without the possibility of interference caused by loss or manipulation of PNT.”

Because trucking is relying increasingly on GPS to improve efficiency and reduce costs, the new policy is likely to draw the attention of technology developers.

A study commissioned by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology found that GPS-based PNT services have led to over $1.4 trillion in U.S. economic benefits since GPS became available in the 1980s, according to the agency. It pointed out that the same study estimates a hypothetical disruption to GPS could result in $30 billion-$45 billion in economic losses over a 30-day period.

Apple applies for machine learning GNSS device

Earlier this month, Apple applied to the Federal Communications Commission for to a license to install GPS testing equipment on its headquarters campus.

This may be related to an application filed by Apple Inc. with the U.S. Patent Office in August 2019, which describes the company’s “Machine Learning Assisted Satellite Based Positioning.”

A device implementing a system for estimating device location includes at least one processor configured to receive an estimated position based on a positioning system comprising a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellite, and receive a set of parameters associated with the estimated position.

The processor is further configured to apply the set of parameters and the estimated position to a machine learning model, the machine learning model having been trained based at least on a position of a receiving device relative to the GNSS satellite.

The processor is further configured to provide the estimated position and an output of the machine learning model to a Kalman filter, and provide an estimated device location based on an output of the Kalman filter.

In 2015, Apple acquired the small enhanced- GPS company Coherent to aid the speed and accuracy of its devices’ location services. Presumably, Apple intends to incorporate its machine-learning positioning method into its navigation software.

ESA’s Galileo satnav system can now reply to SOS signalsVIEW 6 IMAGES

Galileo satellite navigation system can now not only receive, relay, and locate distress beacon signals, it can also respond to the SOS, sending back an acknowledgement to those awaiting rescue that their location and call for help has been received and search and rescue services are responding. The new function became operational during the 12th European Space Conference in Brussels, which ran from January 21 to 22, 2020.

The Cospas-Sarsat, as it is currently configured, is a compromise between the original deployment of low-Earth-orbit satellites, which accurately pinpointed distress signals by measuring their Doppler shift but could only see small areas, and later payloads in geosynchronous orbit, where the system could see larger areas but couldn’t measure Doppler shifts.

However, the Galileo constellation is composed of medium-orbiting satellites at an altitude of 23,222 km (14,429 mi) – high enough to see large areas of the Earth’s surface, but low enough to locate an object within five minutes to within as little as a kilometer (0.6 mi). Distress signals are relayed to Medium- Earth Orbit Local User Terminals (MEOLUT) in the Spitsbergen Islands, Cyprus, and the Canary Islands under the coordination of a control center in Toulouse. The signals are then relayed to local search and rescue authorities.

Now, the system has a “return link” function that can send an acknowledgment back to the beacon transmitting the SOS in under a maximum of 30 minutes and in as little as one or two minutes.

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