UT researchers develop GPS system accurate to the centimeter

There is a limit to how accurate GPS systems are today for the average US for consumer. Only a few industries get the most accurate GPS available, but researchers at the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering at Austin have developed a new GPS system that is accurate down to the centimeter. The system is also inexpensive and could be integrated into devices like mobile phones according to the team.

The researchers say that the centimeter accurate GPS system could usher in a new era for virtual reality and mobile devices by making the positioning and orientation for more precise for these devices that what is currently available. The new GPS system could do things such as allow UAVs to deliver packages to a specific spot on a customer's back porch.

The system could also enable collision avoidance systems to be installed on cars that require ultra precise location data to function. The new system could also change the way virtual reality gaming is played by referencing an 3D map of the surrounds around a player to expand the radius of the game. VR gaming doesn't currently use GPS according to the team, limiting its use to indoors with a two or three foot radius.

The low cost system developed by the researchers increases the accuracy of the GPS system by a factor of 100. That essentially reduces location sensors from the size of a large car to the size of a nickel. The breakthrough by the team is the design of software-defined GPS receiver that is able to extract centimeter accurate location data from cheap antennas found inside mobile devices. Systems with this sort of accuracy today are only used in the civilian world by things like geology, surveying, and mapping requiring large and expensive antennas.

SOURCE: Eurekalert