Verizon zeros in on precise location for IoT, automotive

Along with automotive, the technology can be used for other industries that need to pinpoint locations in daily operations, like HD-mapping, construction and smart agriculture.(Getty Images)

Since launching its Hyper Precise Location service in August, Verizon has expanded access to more than 100 U.S. markets with positioning tech that promises centimeter-level accuracy.

HPL is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) that uses real-time kinematics to enhance satellite-based location information. Verizon said it provides on the spot global navigation satellite system (GNSS) correction data to device receivers for those on 4G and 5G networks. 

Location accuracy is pinpointed within 1-2 centimeters, which compares to 3-9 meters with GPS alone.

This past summer Verizon was about halfway through a two-year effort to deploy a nationwide network of real-time kinematics (RTK) reference stations. The carrier had also said it was using its own infrastructure and real estate for enterprise-grade reference stations at cell sites across the country.

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RTK is central to the service because it’s the tech that minimizes errors satellite-based services like GPS run into because of things like orbit or atmospheric errors. It’s not a new technology by itself, but can paired with edge compute and 5G. Another important factor is the scale of the reference station network and low-cost.

Verizon explained how RTK works at a high-level in three steps:

The RTK stations collect and send back satellite data to Verizon’s backend infrastructure for data processing. That backend analyzes satellite data network-wide and sends GNSS correction data to devices in the field. RTK-capable devices then use the info to help identify their position in near real-time.

Coupled with Verizon’s 5G edge compute capabilities, HPL can apply to safety needs that come up for new Cellular-Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technologies. For example, Verizon recently partnered with Honda on three road safety situations, one utilizing HPL. That involved a person crossing an intersection where a driver’s view is obstructed and can’t see. A mix of smart cameras relaying information using 5G MEC, V2X software to sense both the pedestrian and vehicle and the HPL service to detect exactly where users on the road are, work together and ultimately send a visual warning message to the driver.

RELATED: Verizon pinpoints location with centimeter-level accuracy for road safety, IoT

Along with automotive, the technology can be used for other industries that need to pinpoint locations in daily operations, like HD-mapping, construction and smart agriculture.

Verizon’s HPL service is offered through its ThingSpace IoT platform and uses open delivery standards, including those defined by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) for data streams.  IoT devices can also be accessed and managed through a user API. HPL never stores or shares user location data, according to Verizon, so privacy protection is part of the design.  

“Hyper Precise Location stands to boost or enable next-gen technologies across industries, from intelligent-driving to drone delivery to highly automated operations within construction, agriculture, and much more,” said TJ Fox, SVP of Industrial IoT and Automotive for Verizon Business, in a statement. “HPL’s fast expanding coverage area, API friendliness, privacy protection, and use of open-delivery standards make it ideal for developers and customers demanding precision and flexibility.”