Low Power Snapshot Mode Expanding GNSS Integrated Markets


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For most of us, positioning means GPS, primarily for navigation in our cars and in our smartphones, as it has been incredibly successful but constantly burns RF energy during operation. Run Waze for a while on your phone to feel this. We also expect high accuracy, especially for any kind of autonomy. However, there is also a very large market for a different type of site, where the accuracy in the range of a few meters is good enough, it does not need to be refreshed every second, and the power is more tightly limited. Consider asset tracking for containers or bike rentals. Knowing that a package or a pallet is on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on a train, or in a truck does not require extreme accuracy. But the tracker is not useful if you run out of gas in transit. This is where Snapshot mode comes in – briefly waking up every few minutes or hours to refresh. (Source: CEVA) Opportunity Although supply chains may change, there is little reason to doubt that global supply chains will continue to be very healthy. Raw materials, components and products will be shipped worldwide. Online shopping has seen a huge boost amid Covid-19 restrictions and will likely continue to be a popular option. Thus, our need to track assets, both business and consumer, will continue to grow as markets evolve. According to the ABI, by 2025, asset and location management services — signals, asset tracking, people and animal tracking — should rise to more than 1B units. The number of wearable devices such as smartwatches, smart glasses, sports and fitness trackers – many of which also do not require permanent placement – should rise to nearly 200 million units. Fleet management and digital cameras combined can rise to 40 million units. Supply chain logistics needs to be traced because it will remain global, asset tracking must have a broad reach and thus support GNSS, the umbrella term covering GPS (still widely used today), Beidou in China, Galileo in Europe, and GLONASS in Russia . Asset tracking naturally pairs with wireless connectivity, especially a low-power long-range solution such as NB-IoT, Cat-M or LoRa, to call back location and for location assistance data. For location within the repository, additional assistance data can also be pulled from Wi-Fi (for example, access point scanning), Bluetooth (for example, via the AoA/AoD positioning provided in Bluetooth 5.1), and with growing popularity, UWB. Some apps also appreciate help with dead computation based on motion sensing. Economy is an important consideration to enable asset tracking down to the package or pallet level. Unit costs should be significantly low, ideally to a disposable level, and operating cost (commissioning and service cost) should be tightly controlled. All this points to the recipe for success. The ideal solution must offer a flexible global GNSS system, need to provide a combination of wireless connectivity options and motion-sensing features, and must be available in a low-cost, highly integrated silicon device with extensive customization through software. Dragonfly CEVA, for example, has built the first integrated IP solution to meet this set of needs. Dragonfly is built on a flexible, low-power architecture to deliver GNSS snapshot mode and NB-IoT cellular connectivity. It offers a software-defined GPS solution running on an embedded CEVA-BX1 processor, with an optimized instruction set architecture) ensuring extremely low power. The company will also add support for other GNSS groups soon. It can also be augmented with CEVA Wi-Fi and Bluetooth IP solutions and CEVA’s MotionEngine Scout software technology. A short explainer video is available on YouTube. For more information, please visit https://www.ceva-dsp.com/product/dragonfly/. .


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