MWC2023: Qualcomm demos 5G precise positioning and RF sensing

At MWC 2023, Qualcomm shared its progress in precise positioning and high-resolution RF sensing. The complementary tech demos demonstrated how 5G networks can serve as a common technology platform for connectivity and positioning, and can evolve to detect device-free objects using RF sensing. These capabilities were demonstrated using mmWave and sub-7 GHz spectrum, in outdoor and indoor environments. The demonstrations illustrated how Qualcomm is driving the exciting evolution of RF sensing, and the use of AI / ML for intelligent industrial positioning. These capabilities will be increasingly important as we evolve 5G Advanced toward 6G. 

Precise positioning is an integral part of the 5G standard that offers a new dimension of location awareness to complement satellite-based technologies like GPS. It provides more accurate and seamless navigation in challenging environments like “urban canyons” — areas with tall skyscrapers that can cause positioning errors. Qualcomm’s demonstrations using the Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF System, conducted in collaboration with ZTE and China Unicom, showed how 5G can deliver centimeter-level precise positioning in increasingly complex use cases. In large hospitals, warehouses, or factories — complex indoor spaces which have multiple reflective surfaces, on-device intelligence can improve positioning precision to centimeter levels.

RF sensing is an extension of precise positioning that leverages 5G signals to do more — detect and track device-free objects. 5G mmWave offers the wide channel bandwidths necessary for high-resolution RF sensing. 

Qualcomm’s pioneering research in wireless and AI has been crucial in unlocking the full potential of 5G. The tech demo at MWC2023 showed that precise positioning and RF sensing can be deployed in both indoor and outdoor use cases for pinpoint-accurate navigation and positioning with the help of 5G connectivity.