NovAtel Inc., a provider of high-precision positioning technologies, has announced the company’s new initiative to develop functionally safe Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning technology for fully autonomous applications. NovAtel is leveraging its extensive experience developing safety critical systems for the aviation industry to meet the future safety thresholds required for driverless cars and autonomous applications in agriculture, mining, and other government, military and commercial markets.
In early 2015, NovAtel took an important step in meeting this goal by forming a specialized Safety Critical Systems Group comprised of highly skilled engineers with backgrounds in functional safety as well as all aspects of GNSS and Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) technology. The Safety Critical Systems Group is focused on creating positioning products that will meet the exceptional performance and safety requirements of autonomous vehicles at the necessary production volumes and at the required price point.
Michael Ritter, president & CEO of NovAtel, stated: “Aviation in North America relies on NovAtel technology to ensure safe navigation and landing.” Ritter added, “The Federal Aviation Agency’s WAAS, and other global Space Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS), have relied on certified NovAtel GNSS receivers for many years as the foundation of their systems. With full GNSS signal and constellation support needed to solve the performance criteria of autonomous driving, NovAtel is uniquely qualified to deliver the optimal solution that will keep us all safe as we drive the autonomous highways of the future.”
NovAtel manufactures high precision GNSS receivers, antennas and subsystems, and has a wide range of experience in sensor integration, specifically the integration of GNSS and INS. Through its TerraStar correction service, NovAtel also offers a global Precise Point Positioning (PPP) correction solution that is already designed for safety of life applications.
NovAtel’s legacy in the positioning industry has allowed the company to amass the expertise and technical elements required to deliver functionally safe GNSS. With work well underway for more than a year, NovAtel plans to achieve ISO/TS 16949 compliance by the end of 2016. This is the first, but important, milestone in the Safety Critical Systems Group’s path to success and will be followed by an ISO 26262 compliant product.