AI News, Central role for robust GNSS in autonomous driving

Central role for robust GNSS in autonomous driving

Scientists and researchers participating at the final event of the EU-funded SaPPART COST Action (‘Satellite Positioning Performance Assessment for Road Transport’) discussed the potential of GNSS to deliver necessary high-integrity and high-precision positioning capabilities for autonomous road vehicles.

Ifsttar’s François Peyret, who served as Chairman of SaPPART, opened the event organised jointly with ERTICO, laying out a core emerging premise for autonomous road transport: “These automatic driving cars will definitely need absolute positioning.

SaPPART has been described by organisers as a framework for trans-national cooperation among European researchers, engineers and scholars working in the GNSS and ITS domains, with the common goal of defining requirements for positioning integrity in the road sector.

Key areas of interest have included the standardisation and certification of vehicle positioning technologies, the attainment of which is expected to accelerate the uptake of GNSS-based ITS and mobility applications.

“We received funding for four years and in that time we were able to come closer together and develop a number of clear ideas for common research.”

In terms of concrete deliverables, SaPPART has already issued some key reference documents, including a White Paper outlining the basics of GNSS for the ITS audience, as well as a more technically detailed SaPPART Handbook.

One thing all seem to be in agreement about – the deployment of autonomous vehicles will soon become a reality on European road networks, and most driving-related decisions will be based, one way or another, on the location of the vehicle and of other vehicles and objects in its vicinity.

That positioning will be enabled mainly by GNSS technologies, including Europe’s Galileo, which is expected to offer significant benefits in terms of accuracy and authentication compared to the other satellite-based navigation systems.

He also referenced the GNSS-driven smart tachograph, with its enhanced security features, which allows users to pinpoint the geographic location of the vehicle, making compliance easier for operators and facilitating targeted enforcement by authorities throughout the EU.

GNSS signals are comparatively weak and do not penetrate buildings such as multi-story car parks or inside tunnels, and there are issues of reflectivity and satellite visibility in built-up urban areas.

Cyber security is also being addressed, he said: “The basic message is if you want to go for the use of GNSS, in a regulated way, in autonomous driving, we need to think about the cyber security aspects and the industry will demand solutions that are providing authentication of the satellite signal.”

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