Bluetooth Low Energy chip enables easy data communication and can measure the angle of arrival (AoA) and time of arrival (ToA) simultaneously
There is a growing demand for high-accuracy positioning systems in the Internet of Things (IoT), the automotive industry and a wide range of other sectors, including production and logistics. In the automotive industry, alongside personal recognition, the ability to pinpoint the location of a device is essential for enabling Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) offerings, such as smartphone-based digital keys. However, positioning has often come with issues relating to practicality and the burden on development resources –for example, requirements for physical scanning using barcodes or IC tags, or development of high-end systems employing GPS and Wi-Fi.
In response to these issues, Alps Alpine will commence this month the supply of High-Accuracy Positioning System Evaluation Kit that has a Bluetooth Low Energy chip. The company has taken steps to commercialise positioning modules using sub-GHz bands, including its Long-Lifetime Asset Tracker for logistics operations. The company is currently pursuing additional development of high-accuracy positioning technology employing a Bluetooth Low Energy chip, aiming for commercialisation and mass production during 2021.
In advance of this, Alps Alpine has developed an evaluation kit for use with a high-accuracy positioning system. The kit will be available in November 2020. Alps Alpine’s high-accuracy positioning technology employs an original position detection algorithm developed by American firm Greina Technologies, Inc. (RF Ranging, Inc.).
The system achieves high-accuracy positioning due to being able to measure the angle of arrival (AoA) and time of arrival (ToA) simultaneously. Positioning employs a Bluetooth Low Energy chip that has been adopted widely in the market, enabling easy data communication with existing systems that already use Bluetooth. The system, therefore, has excellent potential for implementation in society. Furthermore, the chip inside the development kit is an NXP Semiconductor KW38 Wireless Microcontroller, which has been extensively deployed within the automotive, consumer electronics and industrial equipment sectors and boasts excellent security performance.
Positioning and Bluetooth Low Energy communication need only a single chip. Under the Bluetooth 5.1 specification, the angle of arrival (AoA) option is already standard. Through participation in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Alps Alpine is currently pursuing standardisation of time of arrival and ranging technology with greater security.
By quickly establishing high-accuracy positioning technology and supplying the evaluation kit to the market, Alps Alpine is looking to heighten added value for finished products while contributing to a user experience that brings safety, peace of mind and outstanding usability to automotive and energy, healthcare and industry (EHI) markets.
Original AoA/ToAalgorithm enables compact, high-accuracy positioning
1. Positioning and data communication employ a highly versatile Bluetooth LOW ENERGY chip.
2. Positioning using tags possible with a minimum 1 anchor.
3. Internal Bluetooth Low Energy stack allows position measurements and data communication.
• Automotive market: Smart Electronic Key, digital keys
• Industrial market: Production systems, conveyance systems (e.g. transfer robots, movable warehouse assets)
- Product name: High-Accuracy Positioning System Evaluation Kit
- Supplied system units: 2 anchors and 1 tag (standard) (additional anchors and tags can be connected)
- Maximum ranging distance: 140m (in line of sight)
- Detection accuracy: ±30cm (in line of sight) with 1-anchor system
- Power supply: 5V (via USB)
- Interface: USB (UART)
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth Low Energy5.0-compliant Custom profile