Vodafone Group detailed plans to begin trialling a satellite positioning technology developed with specialist Topcon Positioning Group to bolster a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) platform launched earlier this year and other IoT device location services.
The companies are working on a set-up to locate IoT devices to within a few centimetres rather than metres, using global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). Vodafone stated it is contacting customers in Germany, Spain and the UK regarding commencing trials this month.
Topcon is providing technology to correct inaccuracies in GNSS signals through terrestrial facilities, with Vodafone offering a single module configuration for all markets.
Justin Shields, director of Vodafone Business Platforms and Solutions, explained the companies will provide “the critical connections” for emerging services including “autonomous cars and connected machinery”. The collaboration with Topcon “complements our existing asset tracking and fleet telematics” products, he added.
Although the operator cited potential benefits of the Vodafone GNSS Corrections system for a range of IoT devices, it highlighted V2X service Safer Transport for Europe Platform (STEP) as a key target.
Vodafone unveiled STEP in March and is gearing up to add it to an automotive-focused service later this year.
Ian Stilgoe, VP of Topcon’s Global Emerging Business unit, explained the collaboration would deliver the “accuracy needed” by V2X services “to help improve road safety”. The approach will also boost position information across “many other autonomous applications” including “drones, delivery robots and safety system wearables”.