Navigation accurate to the centimetre

December 3, 2018 | 06:55
Navigation accurate to the centimetre
Navigation accurate to the centimetre

The new company Fixposition, a spin-off from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich (Switzerland), specialises in real-time navigation systems for self-driving cars, robots or (industrial) drones. Through the combination of satellite-based positioning, such as GPS, with computer vision technologies, the company knows how to achieve and unequalled degree of accuracy.

Match box

The start-up, founded in August 2017, produces extremely accurate navigation systems that are fitted in autonomous vehicles — for example in drones, robots or self-driving cars. The system is about the size of a match box, but nevertheless it is capable of determining its position (or the position of the vehicle in which it is mounted) with an accuracy in the order of a centimetre.

Revolutionary

The revolutionary aspect of the system by Fixposition is that determining of the position is also possible in an environment where satellite reception is difficult — such as in narrow streets in between skyscrapers, forests or even underground.

The system combines state-of-the-art satellite navigation with advanced computer vision technology. That means that when a satellite signal is not or poorly received, a car (or drone or robot) can continue its journey by sensing its environment visually and looking for recognisable features. Actually just like the way the human eye works.

Drones

To survive as a start-up, the founders of Fixposition (Lukas Meier and Zhenzhong Su) focus mostly on drones, for the time being. These are no longer sold exclusively as toys any more, but are increasingly used for inspection purposes, the delivery of goods or for the spraying of pesticides.

And in China drones are even used for an entirely different purpose — for light shows that replace traditional fireworks.

(video: Russia Today)

Source: ETH Zürich
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