Assisted Driving and Lane-Level Positioning Spurring a Shift towards Triple-Band GNSS

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2Q 2023 | IN-6972

Triple-frequency GNSS solutions have proven to be a strong fit for automotive positioning.

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Stricter Positioning Requirements Driving Advanced GNSS Technology Adoption


Looking for superior location accuracy and faster signal fixing, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-enabled consumer, automotive, and professional devices are increasingly adopting dual-frequency L1/L5 and other-multi-frequency solutions. According to ABI Research, 73% of all GNSS chipset shipments in 2021 were L1-only. However, this share is expected to decrease to 52% by 2028 with dual frequency and triple-frequency set to account for 43% and 5%, respectively, of the total GNSS market at that time. Triple frequency L1+L2+L5 GNSS solutions provide an incremental improvement over dual-frequency in terms of accuracy and time-to-fix, while the additional overhead makes this an unlikely upgrade for many devices. However, the automotive industry has increasingly settled on triple frequency GNSS as the new standard, targeting better real-time navigation, higher safety standards, and lane-level accuracy alongside the promise of assisted driving.

Triple-Frequency GNSS Gaining Traction as an Automotive Solution


Positioning requirements for automotive are often stringent, with sub-meter precision, millisecond-level latency, and almost perfect availability and continuity required for effective, modern positioning, navigation, or telematics. To add to this, the demand for precise GNSS positioning is growing as regulations for vehicle safety and telemetry develop, and newer positioning applications such as assisted driving and enhanced journey planning require lane-level positioning. Triple frequency ticks many of the boxes required of GNSS in automotive: the additional frequency bands over single or dual-band GNSS allow for faster signal acquisition for improved positioning in and out of GNSS blind-spots, such as tunnels or urban canyons. This is key for compliance with common vehicle safety standards such as ISO-26262 and crucial for the high positioning continuity and 99.9% availability being targeted by the EUSPA. While the accuracy improvements between dual- and triple-band GNSS are marginal, the additional band has proven useful for ambiguity resolution in multi-path situations and acts as an additional channel for GNSS correction such as Real-Time Kinematic Positioning (RTK) and RTK-Precise of Point Positioning (PPP) or a downlink for correction data,  such as needed for Galileo High Accuracy Service (HAS).

In December of 2021, STMicroelectronics launched the first automotive-grade, single-chip, triple-band GNSS receivers beginning with the STA8135GA. The release targeted in-dash automotive navigation systems, telematics equipment, and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) applications alongside a variety of professional applications such as mapping and maritime positioning. The solution is designed to operate with other positioning technologies, such as STM’s own dead reckoning products for GNSS correction services through partner Swift Navigation. Qualcomm’s automotive positioning solutions combine triple-frequency GNSS with dead reckoning and camera-based solutions in order to achieve lane-level precision. Trimble and Chevrolet’s partnership has resulted in lane-level positioning for assisted driving in many of their vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Equinox EV. Crucial in all of these is that GNSS is only one component of the overall positioning solution and the most effective enablers of precise automotive positioning are solutions which leverage a hybridized mix of technologies for the most effective level of positioning availability such as the use of: inertial measurements for dead reckoning, visual components such as computer vision and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), cellular connectivity for assisted GNSS, and Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) for short-distance V2X ranging.

Dual-Band Gaining Momentum Everywhere Else


ABI research expects strong growth in triple-frequency GNSS chipsets for the automotive industry, with worldwide triple-band GNSS shipments for automotive growing from 7.5 million in 2023 to 22 million in 2028, a CAGR of 24% and a penetration of 27%. Triple-frequency will not be as popular in other applications, however, with the size and power overhead of triple-frequency limiting its adoption in consumer and mass market devices. Any adoption will therefore likely be for applications which crossover with automotive such as for micromobility devices, roadside positioning for ridesharing, or lane-level traffic analytics for journey-planning.

Triple-frequency will also retain its position as an effective professional solution, ABI research predicts that by 2028, 7.4 million triple-band GNSS chipsets will be shipped for professional use such as precision agriculture, geomatics, maritime, and aviation. Although these markets will have to deal with a new wave of alternative precise positioning solutions such as GNSS correction in the form of RTK-PPP or local positioning through laser scanning or computer vision, expect the trend to be towards hybrid positioning above maximizing the use of GNSS along with other technologies such as sensor fusion, correction services, and network-based positioning.


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