4 pnt

4 PNT use cases shaping the automotive industry

Position, Navigation & Timing (PNT) services play a pivotal role across a diverse spectrum of automotive applications. These encompass both safety critical and non-safety critical scenarios, as well as those vital to on-demand customer services. While many of these applications are already entrenched in current automotive landscapes, others are poised to emerge with the ongoing technological advancements, bolstered by regulatory evolution and consumer preferences. The utilisation of PNT entails a deliberate design decision for automotive manufacturers, frequently complemented by the integration of various sensors, resources, and capabilities.

In this insightful blog post, Chris Lane, a seasoned GNSS expert at FocalPoint, delves into the many benefits of position, navigation, and timing (PNT) services within the context of four prominent automotive use cases and discusses just how critical it becomes as automation increases.

The importance of GNSS as a sensor

Empowering crucial functionalities such as positioning, location-based services, driver assistance systems, and autonomous driving; Position, Navigation and Timing are essential to a wide variety of Automotive use cases. One key sensor provides absolute positioning (a latitude, longitude and altitude) and very high accuracy Timing: GNSS. Often (incorrectly) referred to as GPS, GNSS encompasses several satellite constellations including; GPS (Global Positioning System - the original US owned constellation), GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System from Russia), Galileo (European Union's Global Navigation Satellite System), and BeiDou (China's Navigation Satellite System). Together, they form the backbone of satellite-based navigation services, offering unparalleled accuracy in determining the receiver's position relative to the Earth's surface. GNSS not only ensures precise positioning but also bolsters the robustness, calibration, and accuracy of a vehicle's multi-sensor perception solutions, thereby elevating overall performance and safety in automotive applications.

Use case 1- Positioning information

Fundamental for in-car navigation systems, PNT provides real-time positioning location information to drivers. These systems offer turn-by-turn directions, route planning, and traffic information through interactive maps. For fleet management it can be invaluable, allowing operators to track the location of vehicles in real time, monitor driver safety, whilst optimising the overall fleet efficiency. Vehicles may also use PNT to enable or disable certain infotainment functions or provide location specific content, such as a particular region's video streaming options. Lastly, vehicle telematics systems can use PNT to monitor and log usage. Perhaps allowing an insurer access to monitor safe driving practices.

Use case 2 - Location based services

GNSS is used extensively to support the delivery of location-based services. Whilst such services are typically non-safety critical in nature, the performance requirements can remain high for some financial grade systems such as tolling services which are reliant on vehicle positional data. A growing number of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) solutions are coming to market with larger fleets and operating areas. These often have strict geofenced operational areas and vehicle access criteria. Such functionality allows vehicle owners, fleet managers or insurance providers the ability to define virtual boundaries with triggered alerts, helping to prevent unauthorised use. This can also help to prevent vehicle theft.

In addition, GNSS data offers real-time traffic updates and route recommendations to drivers. By analysing the movement of vehicles and their positions relative to traffic flow, systems can identify congestion, accidents, or road closures and suggest alternative routes to avoid delays.

Use case 3 - Driver assistance systems

GNSS is emerging as a key input supporting the delivery of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as a source of absolute location. These are SAE L1-2 systems, and are typically non-safety critical, requiring the driver to remain responsible for the vehicle's operation. Other ADAS features such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance systems can also rely on GNSS data for positioning and trajectory prediction. This information enhances the effectiveness of these systems in assisting drivers and preventing accidents.

GNSS also plays a crucial role in the functioning of eCall. In the event of an accident, eCall utilises a GNSS receiver in the vehicle to determine the location of the incident, establishing an automatic voice connection with the nearest emergency call centre. In this application, GNSS significantly reduces emergency response times.

As of July this year the 2019/2044 regulations mandates that all new cars are fitted with Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA). It is designed to inform the driver when they are speeding using visual or audio cues, by vibrating the pedals under the driver’s feet aimed at warning the driver that they have exceeded the speed limit. It works by the car determining the current speed limit by either reading road signs with a camera, or by determining the speed limit using GNSS and a stored database of roads.

Use case 4 - Autonomous driving

GNSS is a critical component of autonomous driving systems, providing accurate positioning data to guide the vehicle's navigation and decision-making processes. Combined with other sensors such as cameras, radar, and lidar, GNSS helps autonomous vehicles determine where they are in order to navigate safely and avoid collisions. Many automotive manufacturers are addressing the technical challenges of navigating diverse driving conditions and environments by deploying ever more capable sensors. Industry discussions related to gaining public acceptance of this transformative technology rightly focus on improving safety and public awareness.

GNSS technology plays a fundamental role in enabling a wide range of automotive-based location services, from navigation, traffic management, fleet tracking, emergency assistance, theft prevention, ADAS functionality through to autonomous driving. Its accuracy, reliability and sensitivity capabilities make GNSS an indispensable tool for modern automotive applications.

Find out more about S-GNSS Auto with Supercorrelation

While hands-free driving in built-up areas is still some years away, S-GNSS Auto with Supercorrelation can remove several of the engineering barriers to achieving positioning reliability in urban environments. If you’d like to learn more about S-GNSS Auto and Supercorrelation, visit auto.focalpointpositioning.com or get in touch.

Want to get ahead?

Stay up-to-date and discover how we’re driving the automotive industry towards full autonomous driving in all environments.