New satnav technology promises 10 centimetre accuracy

The New Zealand and Australian Governments will be partners in a two-year trial of Satellite Based Augmentation Systems

The minister for Economic Development and minister of Transport, Simon Bridges, has announced that New Zealand wil join Australia to develop and trial satellite technology to improve the accuracy of satellite navigation systems such as GPS, and will contribute $A2m to the project.

The New Zealand and Australian Governments will be partners in a two-year trial of Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS).

SBAS uses a continent-wide network of fixed GPS or other satnav system receivers that are able to measure the error in the GPS position. This error information is relayed to a central processing centre that computes correctional information that is then relayed via geostationary satellite to individual GPS users to increase the accuracy of their GPS-derived position.

Bridges said SBAS was expected to improve air navigation, smartphone-based services, asset management and precision agriculture, and would be needed for the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles.

“This is a world-leading trial that will allow us to investigate how New Zealand might benefit from the added precision SBAS adds to current and future global navigation satellite systems such as the widely used Global Positioning System (GPS),” he said.

“While current GPS locations are accurate to within 5 to 10 metres, the SBAS test-bed could improve positioning to within as little as 10 centimetres. This means that a vehicle will recognise the road it is travelling on, but also which lane it is in, and its distance from surrounding objects.”

He added: “The test-bed and trials will be the first in the world to utilise next-generation SBAS technology, putting Australasia ahead of other parts of the world, and showing again why New Zealand is an ideal place to test new technologies.”

However, according to the Australian Government’s web site for the project, the USA, Europe, Russia, India and Japan have all invested in infrastructure that delivers satellite-based position corrections via an SBAS.

The web site said: “Geoscience Australia is working with the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information on the test-bed project which will evaluate the effectiveness of an SBAS for Australia, and build expertise within Government and industry on its transformative benefits. The project is funded through the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.”

It said that, in early 2017, Geoscience Australia would call for organisations from across the aviation, road, rail, maritime, spatial, construction, mining, utilities and agriculture sectors to participate in the test-bed.

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