Mitsubishi Electric & 3 European companies establish JV providing GNSS for driverless cars

Image courtesy of Sapcorda

Yesterday, Japanese company Mitsubishi Electric announced that it has established a joint venture with German companies Bosch and Geo++ and Swiss company u-blox.

The joint venture will see the creation of Sapcorda Services GmbH, a company that aims to bring high-precision Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning services to mass market applications.

Sapcorda will target the automotive, industrial and consumer markets, and will work with system integrators, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and receiver manufacturers to deliver real-time correction data services.

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One of the applications of Sapcorda’s services will be autonomous cars.

Said Jumana Al-Sibai, an executive of Robert Bosch GmbH, “Together, we want to create a GNSS positioning service that fully supports the requirements for positioning sensors in the automotive sector. Only with built-in safety and the highest levels of precision will we be able to make automated driving reality.”

Such services will be available globally via satellite broadcast and the Internet, and will provide centimeter-level global positioning.

This centimeter-level global position will possibly be achieved by working with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), which is Japan’s satellite-based augmentation system for the Global Positioning System (GPS). Ultimately comprising four satellites manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, QZSS is expected to be fully-functional in 2018 and will enable a Centimeter Level Augmentation Service (CLAS).

Said Masamitsu Okamura, Executive Officer in charge of Electronic Systems at Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, “Mitsubishi Electric aims to create a border-less global market for high precision positioning systems potentially interoperable with the Japanese government´s “Centimeter Level Augmentation Service (CLAS)” via the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System”.

“We believe that this venture will accelerate adoption of automated driving and safe driving support,” he added.

In addition to Mitsubishi Electric’s abovementioned role, the other three companies will most likely contribute to Sapcorda with their individual expertise – Bosch with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and cloud technology, Geo++ with GNSS software, and u-blox with wireless and positioning semiconductors.


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