GNSS Receiver with Post Processing to Provide Accurate, Affordable Geo-Location for Drones

Source: European GNSS Agency

An accurate GNSS receiver is a must for all UAV models. An unmanned system without a proper geolocation solution simply cannot be employed for drone applications for which the final outcome needs to be precisely orthorectified. To provide a high level of accuracy, post-processing of geolocation data is required. However, solutions that support this are very expensive and often well-beyond what many drone operators can afford. As a result, most of them have had to settle for less accuracy.

The ARGONAUT project is making low-cost, high-precision GNSS receivers a viable option for all drone operators. ARGONAUT is a fully integrated GNSS receiver designed to meet the need for high-precision geo-location data. It achieves better than 30 cm horizontal accuracy when post-processing is done using JASON Positioning as a Service (PaaS), an adaptable cloud post-processing service developed and regularly updated by Rokubun’s GNSS team.

ARGONAUT is equipped to track all global navigation systems, including Galileo, along with such regional systems as EGNOS. According to Xavier Banqué-Casanovas, CEO of Rokubun (the company that developed this technology), ARGONAUT’s multi-constellation capability increases exposure to more satellites in view, thus greatly enhancing its robustness in reduced sky visibility conditions, such as urban canyons.

To use the system, all one has to do is mount the ARGONAUT multi-constellation receiver onto a drone. Since it is light and small, it works on all UAV models and serves both as the main GNSS receiver and the synchronizing GNSS payload. During flight, the receiver tracks its position, logging it onto the embedded SD card. When you’ve gathered enough data, simply land the drone, remove the SD card from the receiver and upload its data to your computer.

Before post-processing, the measured position typically differs from the actual one, with an error of around two meters. Although this level of accuracy is suitable for navigation, it isn’t enough for high-precision tasks. So, to enhance the geo-location, users can simply go to the Rokubun JASON cloud service and drag and drop the raw data file to process it. From there, the PaaS uses advanced processing techniques to bring down the level of error to less than half a meter. You then receive instant, ready-to-use accurate positioning and geo-tagged events (such as camera shots).

Most recently, the company has updated the device’s firmware so it is plug-and-play compatible with Pixhawk2, the most popular professional drone controller. But perhaps the best news is that this level of accuracy is now available for just $350.00 – up to 10 times cheaper than other professional navigation systems. Click here to learn more about ARGONAUT.