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Banishing GPS blackspots

The technology is critical for connected autonomous vehicles which require uninterrupted positioning to safely navigate

V2X-Locate has been tested on Sixth Avenue in New York, home to the city's tallest buildings
V2X-Locate has been tested on Sixth Avenue in New York, home to the city's tallest buildings

The connected autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology developer, Cohda Wireless, has launched what it claims is a world-first vehicle positioning system to eliminate GPS blackspots, the so-called “urban Canyons” that exist between high-rise buildings.


V2X-Locate can identify vehicle position to sub-metre accuracy in environments that degrade GPS accuracy, such as tunnels, underground car parks and between high-rise buildings. As well as enhancing current connected vehicles, V2X-Locate delivers a critical component for connected autonomous vehicles, which will require uninterrupted positioning data to safely navigate on roads.


Drawing on its experience in developing collision avoidance systems for underground mines, Cohda has designed V2X-Locate to enable equipped vehicles to identify their location using existing smart city V2X (vehicle-to-everything) roadside infrastructure from any standards-based manufacturer.


“If you’re in a major downtown area with tall buildings, or in a tunnel or in an underground parking lot, a GPS system can fail, preventing it from delivering accurate results,” said Cohda Wireless chief technology officer, Paul Alexander. “As well as being inconvenient for current drivers, this is not an option as we enter the era of driverless cars.

“The V2X-Locate breakthrough is to position the vehicle with sub-metre accuracy by using the existing communications signals produced by V2X smart city infrastructure deployments. The result is that V2X-Locate can eliminate positioning ‘blackspots’ in city centres where they are most likely to occur.”


Cohda Wireless has already demonstrated the efficacy and accuracy of V2X-Locate in a 2017 trial in New York City where it repeatedly demonstrated sub-metre accuracy while driving along Sixth Avenue, which has the tallest buildings in the city. The company reports that comparably tested GPS-based systems were tens of metres off-course, showing cars driving through buildings.


Alexander said Cohda Wireless had designed V2X-Locate by using its experience developing collision avoidance technology for underground mines. “The hardest place to do positioning is one kilometre underground with a cubic kilometre of copper above your head,” he said.


“That’s where V2X-Locate was born. Cohda has worked in that area for several years, providing accurate positioning for vehicles where no GPS connectivity is available. We’ve now successfully migrated that technology from mine sites of the outback to the urban canyons of New York City.”

Both Cohda’s standard V2X onboard and roadside units utilise the NXP RoadLink chipset, which delivers multi-path channel tracking.

After a pre-release international roadshow in October last year, Cohda Wireless received strong interest in V2X-Locate from both smart cities and tier 1 automotive manufacturers. To meet that demand, Cohda Wireless has released a V2X-Locate Evaluation Kit, containing the system and four roadside unit devices, to enable prospective customers put V2X-Locate through its paces.


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