Tired of your Lyft driver not knowing exactly where you are? A new extremely accurate GPS chip could help solve that problem — all while consuming half the power of current chips.
Broadcom’s BCM47755 chip will allow smartphones to be accurate within 30 centimeters, the company said at a conference in Portland, according to IEEE Spectrum. That’s compared to the current standard of 3 to 5 meters, the company said. Broadcom also said the BCM47755 would be more effective in cities than older chips.
All of this would make them very useful for location-based apps.
“For example, lane-level knowledge of the vehicle’s location vastly improves the turn-by-turn navigation performance,” Broadcam said in a statement.
“Further, combining this accurate location with the lane’s traffic pattern gives consumers a significantly better estimate of arrival times. In the same vein, ride hailing applications can be enhanced to more precisely pinpoint driver and client location.”
The chip has been included in the design of “some” smartphones slated for release next year, IEEE Spectrum reports, but Broadcom has not disclosed specifics.
The increased accuracy of BCM47755 is due to its use of a more complex satellite signal, broadcast only by the newest generation of satellites.
All global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) currently broadcast their location with a signal called L1. New systems broadcast, in addition, a more complex and accurate signal called L5.
BCM47755 is the first mass-market chip that uses both signals to orient itself. It locks onto satellites with L1, and then refines its position with L5.
L5 is also less vulnerable to distortion by bouncing off buildings and other obstacles, meaning the signal holds up in urban environments.
Broadcom is far from the first developer to recognize a demand for GPS accuracy, but it is the first to release a chip with this potential. The Indian Space Research Association released GAGAN in September to streamline their GPS systems, but only for airplanes. And a European joint venture called Sapcorda, established in August, aims to provide centimeter-level GPS accuracy, but has yet to unveil a product.