We know where you are, within centimetres, say DT and Iridium

We know where you are, within centimetres, say DT and Iridium

Iridium DDK satellites.jpg

Deutsche Telekom and satellite company Iridium are making separate moves to increase the accuracy of positioning systems to a few centimetres.

Iridium (pictured) is doing it by buying a stake in a UK-based company, DDK Positioning, which uses the company’s satellite network to augment existing positioning systems.

Deutsche Telekom, in a separate announcement, says its tower unit, Deutsche Funkturm, is working with Swift Navigation of the US.

Both are talking about improving the accuracy of current global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) from a typical 10m to a few centimetres.

Iridium CEO Matt Desch, who did not reveal the level of investment, said: “DDK’s enhanced positioning is a unique capability that adds a high-value solution on top of our existing portfolio of custom network services. Solutions from Iridium and DDK partners that are focused on precision agriculture, autonomous systems, maritime and infrastructure projects can now experience incredibly precise GNSS accuracy from anywhere on the planet.”

Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CEO of Deutsche Funkturm, said: “The data acquisition for precise positioning is based on carefully selected antenna locations. Our satellite access stations are distributed evenly at suitable locations without interference, allowing us to offer correction signals throughout Europe.”

The company will use a network of antenna locations in Germany and large parts of Europe, said Deutsche Funkturm. These locations can correct the satellite data to deliver accuracy down to 10cm.

Jacobfeuerborn said: “For maximum precision, safety, and reliability we are continuing to expand Deutsche Telekom’s network with additional receiving stations throughout Europe.”

Iridium claimed that, by using DDK’s technology, it can enhance GPS accuracy service top 5cm or less.

Kevin Gaffney, CEO of DDK Positioning, said: “With Iridium’s satellite communications network and our GNSS solution, we are in a position to deliver a truly unique service which is robust, resilient and secure.” Gaffney added: “The investment made by Iridium will also allow us to grow the company even further whilst expanding our service offering globally.”

Iridium quoted a report by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency saying that augmentation services will account for €65 billion in global GNSS market revenue by 2029. The global GNSS downstream market, including services delivered and hardware devices, is estimated to reach €325 billion, it added.

Deutsche Telekom did not give an indication of the market it is addressing. Neither it nor Iridium quoted prices for their services.

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