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CSR Promises Indoor Navigation With New Chip

CSR has developed a ‘breakthrough’ chip that it says can even work indoors, and tell what floor you are on

On by Tom Jowitt 0

British chip specialist, Cambridge Silcon Radio (CSR) has unveiled a ‘breakthrough’ chip for mobile phones that promises to transform the user experience of modern sat nav systems.

Speaking to eWEEK Europe UK, a CSR spokesman confirmed that the new SiRFusion chip platform from CSR will work with the American Global Positioning System (GPS), as well as the new European Galileo system, plus Russia’s GLONASS and China’s Compass systems.

But the low power wireless specialist also confirmed to eWEEK Europe that, as well as providing better accuracy, SiRFusion will also work indoors. And even more incredible, it should also be able to determine what floor of a building you are on, finally making the possibility of indoor navigation a reality.

Indoor Navigation

So how exactly does it do this, bearing in mind that most sat nav systems require line of sight with orbiting satellites?

Well it seems that in order to work indoors, the CSR chip utilises indoor Wi-Fi positioning, as well information from the MEMS sensors (accelerometers, gyros and compasses) on the phone. In order to determine what floor you are on, it utilises the phone’s barometer.

According to CSR, it then “combines this real-time information with ephemeris data, mapping, cellular base station and Wi-Fi access point location data and other cloud-based aiding information using the SiRFusion platform.”

CSR offered two YouTube videos here and here, showing how the indoor navigation works.

CSR said the new SiRFusion location platform and the SiRFstarV architecture are scheduled to become available next year.

Cloud Server

“The SiRFusion platform and SiRFstarV location architecture are the latest development to promote our vision of enhancing the mainstream consumer experience with a variety of location-enabled services and applications indoors and outdoors, seamlessly,” said Kanwar Chadha, chief marketing officer for CSR.

“With today’s announcements, CSR is demonstrating its leadership in taking location to the next level with our SiRFusion platform and SiRFstarV architecture for mobile devices, as well as with our SiRFprimaII SoC for in-dash and on-dash automotive infotainment products,” said Chadha.

“Unlike many other systems that require manual surveys to build and maintain an indoor Wi-Fi and cellular location database, the CSR Positioning Centre (CPC) cloud-based server is able to receive anonymous and voluntary location information wirelessly from users’ devices, even indoors, to improve the database,” said Dave Huntingford, director of product management for the mobile business area at CSR.

“We have taken a fundamentally new approach to location and navigation that achieves a seamless transition between outdoor and indoor navigation by combining real-time and cloud-based location information from a multitude of sources and processing it right on the mobile device,” said Huntingford.

Modern Sat Nav

Of course the American GPS remains the most widely used satellite positioning system in the Western world.

It has already become the standard way of navigating for many people. Last month a military exercise off the coast of Scotland had to stop using GPS jamming technology, because of safety fears for local fishermen.

In March, a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering warned that people in the UK had become overly reliant on satellite navigation systems such as GPS, making the technology a prime target for criminals intent on disrupting the country’s infrastructure.

Tom Jowitt

Author: Tom Jowitt

Freelance TechWeek Reporter
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