Japan-based SoftBank detailed plans to introduce a nationwide satellite positioning service designed to help guide autonomous vehicles from a range of industries.
In a statement, SoftBank said it will install more than 3,300 control points at its base station locations across the country to deliver centimetre-level accuracy across its mobile network coverage area. It will use signals from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to conduct real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning, which uses fixed and mobile stations to receive signals.
Testing will commence in July with the goal of launching commercial service at end-November. Companies from the agriculture and construction industries, along with a provider of autonomous and assisted driving technology for busses, are participating in the trials.
SoftBank explained it is developing proprietary GNSS receivers to address problems with the cost of the units previously.
ALES, a joint venture established by SoftBank and satellite positioning system company Enabler in 2018, is supplying a positioning core to generate correctional data based on signals received and transmitted by the control points. This data will be sent to vehicles, drones and other equipment embedded with GNSS receivers using the operator’s mobile network.