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ST's satellite tracking chips aid in first ever position fix

26 Apr 2013  | Steve Taranovich

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Touted as the world's first single chip positioning device for multiple global navigation systems, STMicroelectronics's Teseo II is a single-chip stand-alone satellite receiver which uses signals from all kinds of satellite navigation systems, including GPS, the European GALILEO system, Russian GLONASS and Japanese QZSS. This allows the receiver to keep many satellites in sight, delivering advantages such as shorter time-to-first-fix and continuous tracking with enhanced accuracy, even under challenging circumstances such as driving through urban canyons.

 STA8088FG

Figure 1: STA8088FG system block diagram shows the high level of integration in this solution.

STMicroelectronics announced that its Teseo II single-chip satellite-tracking ICs were successful in the very first ground location test using Europe's own independent navigation system, Galileo. The tests were conducted in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).

In March 2013, the first position fix of longitude, latitude and altitude using the four Galileo satellites currently in orbit was performed by the European Space Agency (ESA) at its Technology Centre in the Netherlands and by ST at its GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) software development labs in Naples, Italy.

ST and ESA conducted the historic static and dynamic tests using a rooftop antenna with a clear view of the satellites (static) and from a mobile test-bed unit travelling in a normal user environment (dynamic). The Teseo II receiver was able to track and produce a 3D fix over the entire path of the mobile unit, using only the 4 Galileo IOV (In-Orbit Validation) satellites.

 Teseo II

Figure 1: STA8088 Teseo II application demonstrates the ability to process GPS, Glonass and Galileo signals.

ST and ESA plan to continue the joint tests, initially as a combined multi-constellation fix with GPS and/or GLONASS1 satellites, then later in the year, when more Galileo satellites are available, they also plan Galileo-only tests in a hostile environment.

ESA and ST have been cooperating on a project to evaluate the performance of low-cost consumer and automotive GNSS receivers with the Galileo signals, combining ESA's expertise in knowledge of the signals, both theoretical and from monitoring, with ST's 20 years of experience in producing chips to process satellite navigation signals.

Low-cost receivers have narrower bandwidth and less-capable antennas, but in the real world must operate in much more hostile situations than professional test receivers. As the consumer receiver must operate in urban-canyon situations when many of the signals are reflections, greatly weakened and significantly distorted, ST's Teseo II, with its multi-constellation capability and outstanding sensitivity, makes a perfect fit for many different consumer navigation applications.

Further information on the Teseo II single-chip satellite-tracking ICs can be found here.

- Steve Taranovich
  EDN




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