The global GNSS simulators market size to grow from USD 106 million in 2020 to USD 165 million by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.3% during the forecast period. Various factors such as rapid penetration of consumer IoT, contribution of 5G in enabling ubiquitous connectivity, and increasing use of wearable devices utilizing location information are expected to drive the adoption of the GNSS simulators hardware, software, and services.
COVID-19 impact on global GNSS simulators market
COVID-19 has shocked the world and sent economies spinning. It was late-2019 when the virus first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Initially, it only affected China, but its effects started being felt around the globe, with many countries implementing lockdown. The volunteers from Slovakian company Sygic and other technology companies developed a mobile application, aiming to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The technology used GNSS and Bluetooth sensors to determine if the user came into contact with an infected person in the last 14 days. According to a study by Science Daily published in September 2020, the quality of GNSS reflectometry measurements may have improved significantly during the pandemic because of the lack of cars parked near the ground station. The researchers showed that parked cars significantly reduced the quality of the elevation data by scattering the GNSS signals, causing them to be reflected several times before they reached the antenna, like a cracked mirror.
In the year 2019, many Communications Service Providers (CSPs) started trials and rollouts of 5G networks. Many countries were getting ready for rollouts through spectrum auctions, infrastructure contracts, and other initiatives. But due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a huge impact on both rollouts and readiness for 5G. Countries have started witnessing delays in their spectrum auctions. Technologies deployed in 5G network contain a wide bandwidth for better time resolution, which makes 5G networks a convenient environment for accurate positioning. Hence, it also plays an important role in GNSS. So, the COVID-19 pandemic has indirectly impacted the GNSS as 5G/GNSS will be the core of future location engines for many applications in the Location-Based Services (LBS) and IoT domains.
Driver: Rapid penetration of consumer IoT
Consumer IoT refers to the interconnected environment of consumer electronics and devices. It is a key technology driver for the adoption of GNSS simulators. A rapid increase has been witnessed in the use of smart and connected consumer devices, such as self-driving cars, drones, smart sensors, connected homes, and wearable devices that are integrated with GNSS chip to enable real-time data communication. These devices are tested using GNSS simulators. IoT offers a variety of new devices and service options that have the potential to make the lives and jobs of consumers easier.
IoT plays a significant role in a broad range of applications, such as navigation, mapping, and location-based services. For example, in China, the Internet of Vehicles is catching momentum to provide a more convenient and seamless ride to consumers. IoT-enabled cars have GNSS chips integrated into them, which assist the drivers in driving the vehicles efficiently, and concerned agencies can track their locations for response in case of emergencies. GNSS chips are also being integrated into sensors and wearables to track data from human activities, such as walking, running, cycling, trekking, and swimming. Such IoT applications are leading to a rise in the need for precise GNSS simulators to test various consumer devices. Thus, the growing penetration of consumer IoT products would drive the growth of the GNSS simulators market.
Restraint: Lack of digital infrastructure
Lack of advanced digital infrastructures, such as internet connectivity and ICT infrastructure, is a key factor restraining the adoption of digital, location-based business models and services. Some countries have taken steps to build digital infrastructure, but many developing countries are still lagging in terms of digital advancements. Such a situation results in a digital divide, which refers to uneven access to, use of, or impact of ICT between different geographical, social, or geopolitical groups. A digital divide limits the ability to exploit many basic utilities of the GNSS industry. In addition, poor integration of business workflows of multiple industries with positioning infrastructure in some of the developing countries further limits the realization of the full potential of GNSS technology.
Opportunity: Growing demand for UAVs
Nations such as the US, the UK, and Australia are providing permits or licenses to operate UAVs commercially. The UAVs are integrated with GNSS chips for tracking, recording, and communicating real-time data. In 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enabled law enforcement agencies to fly UAVs that weigh less than 25 pounds below 400 feet. The agencies can use UAVs for training, but they need to prove their expertise before they are granted operational permits. Part 107 of FAA regulations cover a wide range of government and commercial uses for UAVs weighing less than 55 pounds. Companies are developing GNSS-integrated UAVs, customized for different applications to track their location continuously. The use of UAVs/Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) is not fully commercialized in all the geographical regions due to stringent government regulations. UGVs find applications in agricultural surveys, enabling agriculturists to achieve a high level of autonomy to enhance productivity and profitability. To achieve precise and real-time outputs from UAVs, they need to be tested under different conditions using GNSS simulators before they are exposed to live testing. Hence, the growing demand of UAVs would result in an increased need for GNSS simulators.
Challenge: Increase in jamming and spoofing attacks
Jamming and spoofing are the key challenges faced by GNSS users. Jamming refers to intentional interference, i.e., intended radiation of electromagnetic signals at GNSS frequencies to suppress weak GNSS signals such that they cannot be acquired and tracked by GNSS receivers. These jammers are used for military applications. Personal Protection Device (PPD) jammers are prohibited in the majority of the nations, but the use of these jammers is on the rise, as they are easily available on the internet. Apart from intentional interference, there exist cases of unintentional interference as well, wherein some GNSS bands are shared with certain radars and amateur radio. PPDs cause most of the jamming incidents due to their easy availability. For instance, a truck driver used a PPD and crossed the Newark airport regularly, triggering major problems for the receivers of the Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) installed in the locality. Jamming is a problem faced by GNSS companies and needs to be addressed on priority.
Spoofing refers to the generation and transmission of fake GNSS signals aiming to lead a GNSS receiver off track. GNSS receivers are not aware of such attacks. Spoofing is more challenging when compared to jamming, as complex GNSS signal structures need to be replicated, usually for multiple GNSS signals parallel. For instance, in November 2017, an unintentional spoofing incident took place at the ION GNSS+ conference in Portland. A Radio Frequency Constellation Simulator (RFCS) manufacturer accidentally emitted spoofing signals within the exhibition hall. The emission caused multiple smartphones to transfer the lock to the spoofing signal. As the RFCS signal was set for a future time, it resulted in several Apple iPhones losing their security certificates and could not be unlocked anymore. The awareness regarding spoofing attacks is increasing slowly, and the efforts to achieve the required level of resilience from such attacks need to be doubled.
Vehicle assistance system application segment to have the highest CAGR during the forecast period
The GNSS simulators market by application has been segmented into navigation, mapping, surveying, Location-Based Services (LBSs), vehicle assistance systems, and others (timing and synchronization, gaming, weather forecasting, telematics). Advanced driver assistance systems use radar, video, or ultrasonic sensors to monitor the surrounding areas in relation to vehicle data, such as speed or acceleration. Driver assistance systems offer features that provide a driver with essential information and automate difficult or repetitive tasks to increase car safety on the road contributingto the growth of vehicle assistance system application.