Though autonomous vehicles still have a long way to go before they become freely available to the public, advances in navigational technology will help push the technology to maturity in the future. Currently, autonomous vehicles, such as driverless cars and unmanned drones rely primarily on a combination of global positioning systems (GPS) and various sensors to ensure safety and accuracy.
Before a driverless car can be considered roadworthy, extensive testing using GPS-Aided Inertial Navigation Satellite Simulation Systems (GNSS/INS) is needed. You use GNSS simulations to determine the vehicle’s performance and calibrate a suitable path for it to travel.
After all, there are still some limitations to GPS technology – it is easily affected by outside factors, leading to a loss of signal. Fortunately, one advantage of GNSS/INS is that even if the vehicle loses the GPS signal, the INS can continue to compute the position and angle of the vehicle as it travels. This ensures that it stays on-course at all times.
In fact, GNSS/INS technology has proven itself to be especially useful in military applications, as it works well with highly dynamic aircraft vehicles and with guided missiles.
The Rise of Cellular Signal Navigation
Though GPS is still used for general navigation, it still lacks the reliability and accuracy needed to create a successful autonomous vehicle that can be used by the general public.
A large majority of autonomous vehicles that are currently in operation rely on extensive sensor systems to prevent the vehicle from bumping into things.
In vehicles where INS is not an option, a more cost-effective option may be the utilization of existing environmental signals such as Wi-Fi and cellular signals. By combining them with GPS, you can create a solid navigation system that can meet the requirements of driverless cars.
Though GPS systems still lack the accuracy and reliability needed for autonomous vehicles, the development of complementary navigational technology has the potential to make it a reality.