GNSS RTK fixes to ‘centimetre-level’ precision for the mass market

February 16, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
From u-blox (Thalwil, Switzerland), the NEO-M8P offers high precision technology with accuracy to centimetre-level in a small design for applications such as unmanned vehicles and robotic guidance systems.

In a module measuring 12.2 x 16 x 2.4 mm, NEO-M8P is presented as the smallest high precision GNSS RTK (real time kinematic) module available on the market based on GPS and GLONASS satellite-based navigation systems. RTK uses a 2-party scheme; the ‘rover’ with the u-blox NEO-M8P-0 receives corrections from the u-blox base receiver NEO-M8P-2 via a communication link that uses the RTCM (Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services) protocol, enabling centimetre-level positioning accuracy. The RTK algorithms are pre-integrated into the module. As a result, the size and weight are significantly reduced, and power consumption is five times lower than existing solutions, thus cutting costs and improving usability dramatically. Deisgners can further reduce their R&D efforts, as they do not have to spend significant resources and time to develop an in-house RTK solution on a separate microprocessor system.

RTK technologies, u-blox notes, have been used for some time in low-volume niche markets, such as surveying and construction. Due to high costs and complexity, this enhanced positioning technology has been inaccessible for most other uses. Emerging high volume markets, such as unmanned vehicles, require high precision performance that is energy-efficient and low in costs. Other application areas include agriculture and robotic guidance systems, such as tractors or robotic lawnmowers. The u-blox NEO-M8P answers these demands for a small-sized, highly cost-effective, and very precise RTK-based module solution.

“NEO-M8P lowers the barriers for innovative companies looking to develop equipment that needs centimetre-level accuracy in many markets and applications, such as UAVs,” said Daniel Ammann, Executive Director Positioning and Co-Founder of u-blox. “Today, most solutions are based on board-level receiver products. NEO-M8P delivers performance that is simply a level above competitive offerings in terms of size and low-power consumption, thereby providing easy integration into customers’ existing product platforms, as well as a significant saving in their cost of goods.”

u-blox NEO-M8P is available for sampling now and will be shipping in volumes in Q3