Vodafone is developing new satellite-based technology capable of locating IoT devices and autonomous vehicles to within centimeters, Access Evolution


  • Vodafone signs an agreement with Topcon Positioning Group, a multinational designer and manufacturer of precision positioning systems.
  • Both companies are now inviting selected customers to join proof-of-concept activities to locate IoT devices, machines and vehicles.

Vodafone and Topcon Positioning Group are developing a new consumer-grade precise positioning system that will locate Internet of Things (IoT) devices, machines and vehicles with a greater degree of accuracy than using global navigation systems alone by individual (GNSS) satellites.

Vehicles, scooters and even robotic lawn mowers can be safely monitored in real time to within centimeters when connected to Vodafone’s global IoT network and using Topcon’s inaccuracy-correcting technology satellite navigation signals. Location accuracy improves from meters to centimeters with Topcon’s dense European network of thousands of GNSS reference stations, especially when vehicles and devices are equipped with appropriate antennas and receiver equipment.

Vodafone and Topcon have agreed to push forward with customer trials and Vodafone is now inviting select customers to join pilot activities in Germany, Spain and the UK, starting this month. The companies aim to test the service, called Vodafone GNSS Corrections, using a wide variety of devices connected to Vodafone’s global IoT network – one of the largest with more than 150 million connections – and its pan-European network which covers 12 countries.

Extreme precision is key to the mass adoption of Vehicle to Anything (V2X) technology – the ability of vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, road users and infrastructure – driverless vehicles, as well as autonomous machines and robots. For example, e-bike users could use Vodafone’s GNSS corrections to provide details of their exact location and then alert other road users to their presence.

Justin Shields, Director of Vodafone Business Platforms & Solutions, said: “As new technologies such as self-driving cars and connected machines continue to evolve, Vodafone provides the essential connections to support these new services more accurately. , more safety and large scale. Our customers want to be able to better locate their devices, and working with Topcon complements our existing asset tracking and fleet telematics solutions.

Ian Stilgoe, Vice President of Topcon Global Emerging Business, said, “At Topcon, we are proud to partner with Vodafone to provide high accuracy remediation services to enable V2X applications to run with the accuracy needed to help improve road safety, especially for vulnerable road users. .

“Topcon’s long history of providing precision positioning solutions makes it an ideal partner for Vodafone using the comprehensive Topnet Live GNSS network. Vodafone’s high-precision services can also be used to improve the positioning performance of many other autonomous applications such as drones, delivery robots and portable security systems.

Vodafone GNSS Corrections also supports Vodafone’s efforts to improve V2X location accuracy, particularly when sharing reliable data to help prevent unnecessary accidents and deaths on European roads. As such, Vodafone offers precise positioning to complement Vodafone’s new Safer Transport for Europe (STEP) platform which enables entities to communicate with each other where no line of sight exists. Unveiled in March 2022, STEP has been successfully tested in Germany and the UK and will be made available through Vodafone Automotive and third-party apps later this year.

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