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Navigation, positioning and localization

Navigation is the art and science of determining the position and course of an object of interest.

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The term "position" is usually used when the object is referenced to be at a specific place quantitatively expressed as a set of numerical coordinates. The alternative term "location" is commonly used when the object is referenced to be at a specific place qualitatively expressed as a city, street, building, or room. For short-range applications, the terms positioning and localization of an object can be used interchangeably, but in general, a localization constrains the position of an object to a particular area, such as a street or room, instead of determining its exact coordinates. In the past, navigation was most often applied to ships, but today it is more important than ever and affects everyone. Cutting edge navigation technology is today focused not only on ever improving accuracy, but also on increasing availability to allow users of smartphones and other devices to navigate indoors and out, as well as reliability to protect users of navigation products from errors.

Research and activities

Our research on navigation technologies ranges from GNSS-based precision aircraft landing to wireless positioning using ubiquitous multi-sensor and signals of opportunity based navigation for outdoor and indoor use. In addition, we conduct research on navigation system integrity assurance for safety-critical operations and cyber-physical security of navigation operations for autonomous vehicles either on land, in the air, on water, or beneath the sea.

Ground Based Augmentation (GBAS) for precision aircraft landing​

Our research activities in this field are focused mainly on evolution of single frequency GBAS CAT II/III based on GPS L1 towards multi-constellation, multi-frequency (MCMF) GBAS covering such aspects as system architecture and requirements definition, characterization of the operational environment in terms of interference, multipath and anomalous ionosphere (scintillation and gradient effects), and MCMF GBAS ground integrity monitor development. We are also participating in a number of projects concentrating on performance analysis and enhancement of single frequency GBAS CAT II/III designs to ensure system certification for a wider range of geographical locations, including the high latitude regions of Norway and Northern Europe.

Indoor Navigation​

The research work in indoor navigation consists of developing new solutions for allowing first responders and other user groups that require navigation as well as team situational awareness to operate seamlessly between indoors and out.

Autonomous Vehicle Navigation​

SINTEF has undertaken activities focused on autonomous vehicle development, which almost universally require an application focused navigation solution. Our efforts in this field consist mainly of the development, testing and integration of multi-sensor navigation systems that also fit the potentially stringent Size, Weight, and Power (SWAP) constraints posed by the target platform.

ITS Applications

Key research topics include vehicular navigation and performance evaluation of vehicle-borne mobile mapping systems for inventory of public areas in degraded GNSS signal environments (urban areas, tunnels etc.).

Typical projects for us are:

We conduct contract R&D as a partner for private industries and/or the public sector, and we deliver innovation by developing knowledge and technologies that are brought into practical use. We are usually involved in projects where R&D is used to increase the maturity level of a specific technology or a specific application of a technology from basic research to a more applicative solution. The maturity is commonly represented by a number from one to nine on a scale called the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), where one is used to represent pure basic research projects and nine is used to represent an actual system proven and ready for the market. We are mostly involved in projects trying to bridge the gap between TRL 2 – 6 on this scale. As a result, typical projects for us are the ones where we contribute with our know-how in activities such as:

  • discuss and formulate technology concepts.
  • design electronic components or embedded systems for experimental proof of concepts
  • validate a technology or an application in a controlled environment (laboratory testing)
  • validate a technology or an application in a relevant environment (field testing)
  • demonstrate a technology or an application in a relevant environment (field demonstration)
  • being a trusted and independent technology advisor for future technology investments

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