2012: the busiest year yet for GNSS chipset designers?
Written by Andrew Sage   
Friday, 21 October 2011

On 5th October 2011, I chaired a conference in London entitled ‘Modernised Satellite Navigation’ attended by some 50 delegates. Those delegates represented a very wide cross section of industry including government, users and manufacturers and as a result, it was a truly rounded debate on the subject of GNSS. Copies of the presentations, including videos, are available on the IET websites - so take a peek!

Terry Moore from the University of Nottingham reminded us of the successful GLONASS launch on 2nd October 2011, reaching the fully planned constellation of 24 satellites. Perhaps more importantly however is the realisation that by 2016, it will offer ~10 modernised CDMA payloads … and if we have faith in the Galileo programme, that will mean a virtual constellation of 50 CDMA satellites!

Philip Mattos from STM meanwhile provided the view from the coalface and the choices facing today’s chipset manufacturers. Despite the expense of integrating GLONASS together with GPS, that won’t stop STM from launching the first consumer GPS/GLONASS/Galileo receiver on the marketplace in 2011. The performance gains published by STM are impressive, thus going some way to supporting the investment made, and they more or less match those claimed by Broadcomm in recent months. Philip also confidently predicts that consumer chipsets will support all four GNSS - including both Galileo and Compass - within three years!

On 21st October, the first two operational Galileo satellites were launched from Kourou, due to be followed by a further two satellites in early 2012. If you also consider that, at the ION conference this year, the Chinese government announced that the Compass ICD (Interface Control Document) is due to be released imminently, then it looks set to be a busy 2012 for GNSS chipset and receiver designers.

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