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Unmanned vehicles require positioning systems adequate for their various operational missions.

NovAtel has signed a contract with Stanford University for a study to determine how GNSS technology can deliver a positioning system that meets safety and accuracy requirements for autonomous land vehicles, the company said.

GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) is a satellite technology that is used to pinpoint the geographic location of a user’s receiver anywhere in the world.

NovAtel said the study, to be conducted at Stanford’s GPS Research Laboratory, will build on similar aircraft research.  

In addition, the research will include concepts for high integrity carrier-phase algorithms, threat models, and safety monitors for improving autonomous vehicle transportation, the company said, as reported by Inside Unmanned Systems website.

NovAtel’s interest in autonomous vehicle development dates to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge in the California desert, and in urban settings, more than a decade ago. The DARPA winner, Stanford University’s Stanley vehicle, incorporated NovAtel’s ProPak dual-frequency GNSS inertial navigation system (INS) that used a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) to improve positioning.

NovAtel formed a Safety Critical Systems Group earlier this year to leverage its experience in aviation technology to meet requirements for driverless cars.