KT ties up with U.S. tech firm Swift Navigation to provide ultra-precision location service

By Lim Chang-won Posted : June 29, 2022, 12:43 Updated : June 29, 2022, 12:43

[Courtesy of KT]

SEOUL -- South Korea’s top telecom company KT tied up with Swift Navigation, a San Francisco-based tech firm, to provide an ultra-precision location data service by reducing the error range of GPS signals to centimeters. Precise positioning information can be applied to smartphones, self-driving cars, unmanned equipment, drones and flying taxis.

KT said it has signed a business partnership with Swift Navigation that provides precise position solutions. Swift Navigation's real-time kinematics (RTK) GPS and GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) positioning technology provides centimeter-level accuracy. RTK is the application of surveying to correct for common errors in current satellite navigation systems. 

As GPS signals travel down to the Earth from space, the layers of the atmosphere refract and slightly delay signals, interfering with the range solutions from the GPS receiver on the ground to the satellite, resulting in positional errors of several meters.

KT hopes to provide precise positioning services in various mobility areas by linking Swift Navigation's solutions with a nationwide network of reference stations that can correct errors in satellite signals. 

"Through this partnership with Swift Navigation and joint technology development, we will secure differentiated competitiveness in the precise positioning service market."KT's AI mobility business head Choi Kang-rim said, adding that his company would lead the creation of an ecosystem.

As satellite-based location information services use only satellite signals in modules of each service terminal, there is no way to correct signal refraction and radio interference, resulting in a big error with the actual location that restricts accurate and safe mobility services.

By repeatedly observing satellite signals, KT said that correction information can be generated by applying error modeling on correction servers. Precise location information can be provided by combining correction information with GNSS signals from multiple satellite and 5G and LTE signals.

Swift Navigation CEO Timothy Harris said that business cooperation with KT would provide positive momentum for entering the Asian market

KT said that precise positioning information can also be used in logistics services and the construction of a next-generation cooperative intelligent transport system (C-ITS) that provides real-time information such as traffic conditions so that individual vehicles could share data and prevent traffic accidents.  

C-ITS connects vehicles, pedestrians, and traffic infrastructure with 5G. The smart road system incorporates smart vehicle and connected car technologies such as vehicle-to-everything (V2X), a key autonomous driving technology that allows self-driving cars to communicate with other cars and on-road facilities such as traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. 

South Korea aims to secure the so-called Korean positioning system (KPS) by 2035, based on seven satellites that can provide independent positioning and navigation signals over an area spanning a 1,000-km radius from Seoul. The goal is to prove an ultra-precision location data service and reduce the error range of positioning in its service area to less than one meter.
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