10 Creative Ways to Boost Your Robot’s GPS Signal
Maintaining clear lines of communication between your autonomous robots and GPS signals can be critical to the success of these projects. Finding ways to boost your robot’s GPS signal can allow it to function more effectively. Here are 10 of the most practical and creative ways to boost your GPS signal and reception for robotic systems.
You’re Going to Need a Bigger Antenna
Adding a larger antenna is one of the most obvious ways to increase the range and reach of GPS signals. While this may not help in some areas where signals are consistently blocked by landscape features or urban installations, a bigger antenna can provide signal boosts that can significantly reduce your dropped signal blues.
Upgrade Your Hardware with Dual Compassing
More is better in the case of GPS. When you have additional GPS sensors on your rover separated by a few feet or meters the INS Kalman filter can provide heading and positional data outputs that improve your bot’s navigational accuracy and reliability by a large margin at a relatively low cost. This article goes into depth about what Dual Compassing is and how it upgrades your navigational abilities.
Relocate Your Operating Space
Buildings and trees can present real obstacles for robot GPS. Establishing an operating area that is free from these types of obstructions can eliminate some of the interference with your system to allow it to operate with greater autonomy in real-world situations.
Redesign the Exterior
The materials used to construct autonomous robots can sometimes be an obstacle in itself. Think carefully about the effect that the materials used to fabricate your robot will have on its ability to receive GPS signals clearly. If you cannot redesign the robot, you may need to place the GPS sensors and systems outside the outer shell to ensure clearer reception.
Upgrade the Power Supply
In some cases, upgrading the power supply for your autonomous robots can increase their ability to receive signals from GPS satellites. Low signal quality is sometimes associated with low battery charge or lack of power for these systems. By boosting the power available, you can often improve the ability of your autonomous systems to a significant degree.
Incorporate Real-Time Kinematics
Real-time kinematics, or RTK as it is more commonly known, is a system that combines signals from Global Navigation Satellite Systems with a correction stream that can significantly improve the quality of the data received by your robots. With two receivers located a significant distance apart, RTK allows correction for incorrect or incomplete signal information. This can not only boost your system’s ability to receive GPS signals but can ensure the highest accuracy for the location data it receives.
Investigate Precise Point Positioning
One future technology that is being explored today is Precise Point Positioning or PPP. When combined with RTK, PPP technologies can streamline the geolocation process by requiring just one receiver, which is designed to provide accurate location information down to the centimeter. While this technology is not yet available to the general public, it will likely shape the way in which autonomous robots are designed in the future.
Use Wi-Fi to Enhance IMU Function
Inertial measurement units, or IMUs, are used to determine the distance and, in most cases, the direction in which a robot or autonomous device has moved. This method can sometimes produce errors, however, when used in interior spaces. Researchers have found that combining IMUs with Wi-Fi signals can eliminate some of the issues with loss of signal inside buildings or in areas with unreliable access to GPS signals.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Working with a company that specializes in components for autonomous systems and robotics can help you to stay current with the latest developments in this field. Some of the recent advances in GPS technologies and signal correction could allow greater use of robotics in a wide range of indoor and outdoor environments.
Consider the Benefits of Radar
Forbes reported in 2020 that some autonomous or self-driving cars are using radar as a backup system for times when signals are interrupted. This is not technically a way to boost the signal for your autonomous system. However, it can definitely be helpful when signal quality is low or nonexistent.
Explore the Quantum Realm
One of the best ways to boost the accuracy of your robot’s geolocation is to eliminate the need for GPS signals altogether. Researchers are currently investigating ways to use quantum properties of matter at extremely low temperatures to determine positioning and direction for autonomous systems. A prototype system is currently operating on the International Space Station. This technology is likely a few years away from entering the commercial marketplace.
At Inertial Sense, we are constantly looking for the most practical ways to help you and your business put the power of autonomous robotics to work for your operations. We work with companies just like yours to deliver curated solutions for your current and future autonomous systems requirements. Visit us online or give us a call at 801-893-0927 today. We provide answers to achieve autonomy and precision for a world in motion.