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GPS module zooms into auto industry

Posted: 04 Feb 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:GPS module networked? information location? communications vehicle?

SiRF Technology Holdings Inc. and M/A-COM Technology Solutions Inc. have partnered to help create the networked GPS module that provides location information to the new generation vehicle-based communications and entertainment systems, which debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. SiRF also introduced the GSC3e/LPa single-chip GPS receiver, the first SiRFstarIII architecture product specifically built to meet the quality and reliability requirements of Tier-1 automotive electronics OEMs.

M/A-COM chose the SiRFDRive2 GPS and dead reckoning technology, already adopted by LG Electronics and Continental Automotive Systems (formerly Motorola ACES), key suppliers to GM's OnStar system. SiRF believes this market, which includes OEM telematics, eCall, mileage-based road tolling systems, advanced driver assistance systems, vehicle location and fleet management, among others, could see accelerating growth rates over the next several years as location becomes an integral part of vehicle platforms.

"Bringing 'location awareness' to the whole automotive platform is an important aspect of our vision to enable vehicle makers to use location not only for navigation but also for safety, security and other enhanced commercial location-based applications," said Kanwar Chadha, founder and VP of marketing for SiRF. "Our alliance with M/A-COM Technology Solutions to provide a robust location platform that integrates GPS and tightly coupled dead-reckoning technology represents a significant milestone in solidifying SiRF's position in the auto industry."

M/A-COM's new GPS module integrates a highly accurate SiRF GPS receiver running the SiRFDRive2 GPS dead reckoning software, a specialized GPS antenna, a microprocessor controller and memory, as well as a CAN bus transceiver and connector and associated software to create a "location server" on the vehicle network that literally location-enables the entire vehicle. The SiRFDRive2 software processes individual wheel tick counts, vehicle speed and other critical sensor data the module obtains from the vehicle's CAN bus network, and combines it with GPS satellite signal measurements to calculate highly accurate position, heading and time information available in all environments. The module then makes this information available via the CAN bus throughout the vehicle.

Accurate location info
"The first product of its kind, our new networked GPS module gives new telematics systems the highly accurate location information they need to deliver a variety of location-based services including navigation and demonstrates to the auto industry a new approach to location-enabling not only a single system but their entire vehicle platform," said Joe Thomas, president of M/A-COM. "With SiRF's support and their in-depth understanding of how to utilize the remote sensor information on the vehicle-bus with their SiRFDRive2 software for anytime, anywhere positioning, we were able to deliver a singular, integrated product that provides location, heading and time information throughout the vehicle."

SiRF has also launched the GSC3e/LPa GPS receiver, which the company claims is the first SiRFstarIII product that is optimized to address auto industry needs. The new SiRF GSC3e/LPa GPS receiver is fully automotive qualified and opens the door to the more widespread use of the SiRFstarIII architecture by automotive electronics OEMs to provide location information for a variety of in-dash navigation and telematics applications in cars and trucks around the world.

The GSC3e/LPa receiver undergoes the more exacting AEC-Q100 qualification process, and stricter manufacturing, assembly and testing procedures to meet the tighter automotive quality and reliability standards compared to those for consumer devices. The GSC3e/LPa comes in a larger, automotive-compliant 0.8mm pitch BGA package to support the high reliability requirements of this market by enabling the use of lower cost substrates and more mature assembly processes. The integrated SiRF GRF3i+ GPS radio's dual-range IF band filter with default 2MHz bandwidth improves immunity against the near-band RF interference commonly found in electrically noisy vehicle environments, easing the integration into the vehicle platform while preserving GPS signal reception and performance. The GSC3e/LPa receiver also supports SiRF's premium SiRFDRive dead reckoning and SiRFInstantFix fast-start software options.

The SiRF GSC3e/LPa and an evaluation kit are available now in sample quantities. Production volumes are expected later this month.

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