Ligado Scraps 5G Network Launch Amid Interference Flap
Announcement comes days after government report indicates GPS interference
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In the wake of a U.S. government report that says its system may interfere with GPS and other services, Ligado Networks announced that it won’t launch its 5G network in the 1526-1536 MHz spectrum in certain areas of Virginia. According to published reports, Ligado planned to launch the network by Sept. 30.
The company's decision comes just days after the U.S. government's National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a report that indicated that Ligado's planned network may interfere with GPS and existing equipment and services.
“Ligado has reached this decision to allow time for the company's discussions with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [NTIA], acting in its statutory role on behalf of the Executive Branch, to resolve in a fair and reasonable manner issues relating to the government's ongoing use of Ligado's terrestrial spectrum," said Gerard Waldron, Ligado's attorney, in a letter to the FCC that was released to the media.
The battle between Ligado and the U.S. Defense Department, industry groups and GPS companies has been going on for nearly a decade. However, the FCC, on Jan. 19, 2021, voted down a proposal by U.S. government agencies to stop its decision that allowed Ligado to deploy a nationwide mobile broadband network. At that time, such companies as Lockheed Martin LMT 0.00, Iridium Communications IRDM 0.00, Air Line Pilots Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, International Air Transport Association and Airlines for America also filed petitions to ask the FCC to reconsider Ligado’s bid.
Last year, Thalwil, Switzerland-based u-blox [UBXN] said Ligado, because of the FCC decision, will be free to use frequencies “very close to those used by GNSS receivers, to transmit downlink signals from cell towers and uplink signals from user equipment.”
Who is right may be a matter of perspective and bias. Some in the media are even saying the battle is drawn along political lines in that Republicans are for Ligado and Democrats are against the company.
For its part, Ligado said the report found what the FCC previously determined: “A small percentage of very old and poorly designed GPS devices may require upgrading. Ligado, in tandem with the FCC, established a program two years ago to upgrade or replace federal equipment, and we remain ready to help any agency that comes forward with outdated devices. So far, none have.”
Both sides seem to be claiming victory…
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Apple Debuts iPhone 14 Lineup With SOS Capability, Better GPS
Apple AAPL 0.00 last week launched its iPhone 14 models that feature a new satellite-based Emergency SOS service, upgraded GPS and car crash detection.
For its Emergency SOS, Apple has partnered with Globalstar GSAT 0.00 to use the company’s 24-satellite constellation. Other companies have planned emergency services such as last month’s T-Mobile TMUS 0.00 and SpaceX partnership that offers an end to coverage “dead zones.”
Emergency SOS via satellite will be available to users in the United States and Canada in November—with the service being free for two years, the company said.
According to Reuters, Apple is investing $450 million toward satellite infrastructure, with most of that investment going to Globalstar.
The new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max also feature dual-frequency GPS for more accurate location tracking, according Apple's tech specs. The iPhone 14 Pro models can receive signals from GPS satellites operating on both the L1 frequency and modernized L5 frequency.
The new GPS features are supported on the new $249 Apple Watch Ultra that was announced last week. The new Apple watch also has crash detection and SOS emergency services.
The iPhone 14 lineup includes emergency assistance, via a dynamic range gyroscope, for crash detection. The new capabilities compliment built-in GPS for speed changes, a barometer for pressure changes and a microphone that can recognize loud crash noises, Apple said.
Strangely, a day before Apple rolled out its SOS feature for iPhone 14, Huawei announced its own emergency system. The company said that its Mate 50 series will support texting via satellite communication through Beidou, China’s alternative to GPS. The company said that Mate 50 it is the first private smartphone that connects to Beidou.
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Raytheon Awarded FAA WAAS Enhancement Contract With $375 Million Ceiling Value
Raytheon Intelligence & Space RTX 0.00 has been awarded a Federal Aviation Administration contract, with a ceiling value of $375 million over the next 10 years, for upgrades to the agency’s Wide-Area Augmentation System, or WAAS.
Task orders, valued at $215 million, were executed at contract award to provide technical refresh and Dual Frequency Operation (DFO) upgrades to WAAS, the company said.
Under the WAAS DFO-2 contract, to be completed at Fullerton, Calif., RI&S will deliver enhanced processing, system security, network architecture and dual frequency service, the company said. "Our modernization effort for WAAS will improve system robustness during ionospheric events and ensure safety-of-life requirements continue to be met," said Denis Donohue, president, Surveillance & Network Systems at RI&S, in a statement.
Raytheon, which has been prime development contractor for WAAS since 1996, has made dozens of enhancements to the system after it reached initial operational capability in 2003. These enhancements include precision approach capability, coverage area and improvements to the system infrastructure in preparation for dual frequency service.
Contact: Tamar Brill, Raytheon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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💰 Collins Aerospace Gets $583 Million Army MAPS Gen II PNT Contract. “Raytheon Technologies’ RTX 0.00 Collins Aerospace business has secured a potential five-year, $583 million contract from the U.S. Army to produce the latest generation of positioning, navigation and timing system for the service’s uncrewed and manned ground vehicles.
💲 UK's Focalpoint Raises $17 Million for Its Software-based Approach To Repairing the Flaws of GPS. “Based in Cambridge and founded as a spinout from Cambridge University, FocalPoint has raised £15 million ($17 million), part of a Series C round that it expects to total £23 million ($26 million) when fully completed. [L]ast September, it appointed Scott Pomerantz as its CEO. Described as a ‘living legend in GPS,’ Pomerantz previously founded Global Locate, one of the first companies to bring GPS to the mass market, with its tech used by Apple and others. That startup eventually got acquired by Broadcom AVGO 0.00."
✈ US F-15 Fighters To Become Deadlier With GPS Anti-Jam Receiver & EW System. “BAE Systems [BAESY] announced that it had been awarded a $13 million contract for cutting-edge GPS technology to shield US F-15E aircraft from GPS signal jamming and spoofing.
🙂 Topcon Launches Topnet Live in Finland To Expand GNSS Network Correction. “The development forms part of Topcon’s continued expansion of its GNSS networks globally and means that Topnet Live is now available throughout Scandinavia.”
🤞 Army Ponders Satellite Partners for 'Lonestar' GPS Interference Warning System. “[The U.S.] Army is in the midst of evaluating the results of experimental satellite tech designed to directly warn soldiers on the ground when GPS signals have been disrupted or compromised.”
🗺 12 Map Happenings That Rocked Our World. Part 1: The First Map.
📱 Apple’s Google Maps Rival Gets Massive Update, Now Available for All Users. “The release of iOS 16, which is now available for the iPhone 8 and newer, comes with massive improvements for Apple Maps, including a highly anticipated feature. Beginning with this update, Apple Maps supports multistep routing, which means that users can now create routes with several stops and then have the application provide navigation to each of them.”
👍 Tesla To Add 'Alternate Routes' in Update 2022.28. “Tesla is introducing 'Alternate Routes,' in the U.S. in update 2022.28.1. The feature will display up to three routes after you add a destination.”
Connected and Autonomous Vehicles:
🚘 NHTSA Updates Cybersecurity Best Practices for New Vehicles. “The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released Cybersecurity Best Practices for the Safety of Modern Vehicles, an update to its 2016 edition. The document describes NHTSA’s guidance to the automotive industry for improving vehicle cybersecurity for safety.”
🤨 Tesla Is Forced To Change Autopilot in Germany Over Regulatory Pressure. “In a Tesla investigation by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), which has been running since the beginning of the year, the electric car manufacturer can book a partial success. According to a KBA spokesman, the KBA carried out tests on Tesla vehicles as part of market surveillance and found abnormalities.”
😮 Mobileye starts Level 4 testing in Detroit:
…and Intel Lowers Target for Mobileye, Aiming for $30 Billion IPO…
👌 FCC To Fight Space Debris by Requiring Satellite Disposal in 5 Years or Less. “A proposal released by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel would adopt "a first-ever rule requiring non-geostationary satellite operators to deorbit their satellites after the end of their operations to minimize the risk of collisions that would create debris."
🛰 ESA Completes End-to-End Test of Enhanced, Secure Galileo Service. “[E]nd-to-end testing of the Galileo system demonstrated signal acquisition of an improved version of the Public Regulated Service.”
✔ Albedo Announces $48 Million Series A Funding Round. “Earth observation startup Albedo raised $48 million in a Series A funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Shield Capital.”
✔ Nearmap Board Recommends Thoma Bravo's $725.6 Million Takeover Offer.
⚽ FIFA Approves Use of SPT2 GPS Tracking Devices in International Soccer. “Australian wearable device manufacturer Sports Performance Tracking has received approval from FIFA that allows players to wear its SPT2 GPS tracking system during games.”
Location Industry Briefs
Send your news releases to firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to www.locationbusinessnews.com for more news and an archive of stories.
Onocoy Launches Project to Build Densest GNSS Reference Station Network
Zurich-based onocoy has launched a project to build what it calls is the densest GNSS reference station network based on Web 3.0. The new startup said that the project aims to reach 20 times more reference stations compared to other solutions in the market.
The project will ensure positioning data quality suitable for mass market applications such as drones, micro-mobility, robotic lawnmowers and autonomous vehicles, the company said.
The project’s goals are to provide scalable correction services by leveraging Web 3.0 methods and distributed ledger technology, the company said. Overall, the company says that while RTK receiver prices have dropped, high correction service costs and insufficient mass market business models have limited its application.
Contact: Thomas Nigg, onocoy, email@example.com, www.onocoy.com.
TomTom Offers GO Navigation’s Truck Plan
TomTom [TOM2] has introduced GO Navigation’s truck plan that enables professional drivers to plan routes that account for their vehicle’s dimensions, fuel requirements, desired maximum speeds and cargo.
The premium navigation solution allows drivers to plan multiple drop-offs and gain access to an overview such upcoming points of interest (POIs) as fuel stations that are suitable for their vehicle and truck stops, the company said. The additions work with the app’s existing navigation features that include lane guidance and live traffic.
Contact: TomTom, www.tomtom.com.
HERE’s SDK Navigate Available in Japan
HERE Technologies has announced that HERE SDK Navigate is now available in Japan. HERE SDK Navigate, which is available in more than 200 countries, features rich map data and customizable features to improve mobile application user experience, the company said.
HERE SDK Navigate features multiple map view instances, controlling draw order of map layers, 3D camera control and integrated tool chain for map customization, the company said. Additional premium features including car and truck turn-by-turn (TBT) navigation, advanced routing, geocoding and search, network positioning and downloadable offline map data are also available.
Contact: Camy Cheng, HERE, 65 9088 4127, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uber and Nuro Partner for Food Deliveries
Uber UBER 0.00 and Nuro have announced a partnership to use Nuro's autonomous electric vehicles for food deliveries in the United States. Uber Eats customers will be able to order meals and goods that will be delivered by zero-occupant autonomous delivery vehicles, the companies said.
The deliveries will start this fall in Houston and Mountain View, Calif., on public roads. The companies plan to expand the service to the greater Bay Area.
Contact: Aarthi Sivaraman, Nuro, email@example.com, www.nuro.ai.
U-blox Updates GNSS Module
Thalwil, Switzerland-based u-blox [UBXN] has announced that the ZED-F9R-03B, a ZED-F9R module, now includes an updated firmware version of high precision dead reckoning GNSS receiver. The product, centimeter-level accuracy, is ideal for ground robotics applications, the company said.
The module supports SPARTN 2.0-format SSR corrections for continent-wide coverage, the company said. ZED-F9R-03B will be on display at the upcoming InterGEO 2022 trade show in Essen, Germany. First samples will be available in September 2022.
Contact: Natacha Seitz, u-blox, 41 76 436 0788, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.u‑blox.com.
ORBCOMM Telematics Selected by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Europe
ORBCOMM has been selected by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Transport Europe GmbH to their telematics supplier for refrigerated trailers in Europe. ORBCOMM and MTTE will launch their new OEM partnership at IAA Transportation in Hannover, Germany, this month, the company said.
MTTE will install ORBCOMM's next-generation temperature monitoring solution on their new, all-electric reefer units, the company said. MTTE customers can assess location and operational status data from their refrigerated trailers immediately, the company said.
Contact: Lina Paerez, (613) 875-1485, email@example.com, www.orbcomm.com.
Hexagon Announces Aerial Data Collection of Eight U.S. States
Hexagon’s Geosystems division has announced that the HxGN Content Program will refresh data for eight U.S. states. The states will be updated at 6-inch resolution statewide, which the company says will mark the program’s shift from a 12-inch to 6-inch wide-area acquisition for the contiguous United States.
Starting this year, data will be collected using the Leica ContentMapper. The company said the sensor is optimized for large-area mapping and equipped with Hexagon’s mechanical forward-motion-compensation (FMC) technology.
Contact: Hexagon’s Geosystems, firstname.lastname@example.org, hxgncontent.com.
Quectel Announces Module Developed with Three Companies
Quectel Wireless Solutions has announced that its BG95-M3 LTE module is available as part of a joint nuSIM solution developed with support from Deutsche Telekom [DTEGY], Qualcomm Technologies QCOM 0.00 and Redtea Mobile. The module is based on the Qualcomm 9205 LTE Modem that supports cellular connectivity for such IoT applications as asset trackers, smart city sensors and smart meters.
The integrated SIM for the Internet of Things (IoT), has been developed to remove the need for the physical SIM and meet the low power and cost requirements of many IoT devices, the company said. These include wireless POS, asset tracking, wearables, monitoring and smart metering.
Contact: Ashley Liu, Quectel, email@example.com, www.quectel.com.
GPS Company Supports Chicago’s Protection Program
GPS tracking company LandAirSea (LAS) has announced its support of Chicago’s Home and Business Protection Program (HBPP) to fight rising theft in the city and protect residents, their homes, and their belongings. HBPP provides rebates to cover the costs of outdoor security cameras, cloud storage for video footage, outdoor motion sensor lighting, vehicle GPS trackers, and subscription costs.
Contact: Jared Zientz, LandAirSea, Jared.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drone Remote ID Uses Nordic Connectivity
Japan-based Braveridge has launched a low power drone tracking and regulatory compliance solution called Remote ID. The device can transmit a drone’s published ID and precise position through Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 SoC-enabled Bluetooth 5 Long-Range connectivity.
In addition, Braveridge has developed a Remote ID receiver and associated iOS/Android smartphone app to display, monitor and record the orbit of multiple drones on a map, the company said.
Contact: Nordic Semiconductor, www.nordicsemi.com.
Innoviz Says “Leading Asia-based” Auto OEM Selects Lidar
Innoviz Technologies INVZ 0.00 has announced that “one of the leading Asia-based automotive OEMs” has selected the company’s lidar for its passenger vehicles. Innoviz will supply InnovizTwo Lidar sensors to position vehicles to upgrade to full Level 3 automation, the company said.
The partnership is expected to generate revenues during fiscal year 2024, the company said.
Contact: Maya Lustig, Innoviz Technologies, 972 54 677 8100,
Replicon’s Workforce Management Suites Tracks Employees
Replicon has been featured in the Constellation ShortList for Workforce Management Suites for 2022. Replicon helps streamline global wage and hour law compliance, control overtime, reduce labor costs and increase payroll accuracy and efficiency, the company said.
Replicon's Time Tracking App enables remote employees and supervisors to view, record, and approve data related to time, expenses, and time off on the go. The mobile app supports remote and on-field workforce with GPS tracking and geofencing.
Contact: Replicon, www.replicon.com.
Torc Robotics has named Dushyant Wadivkar as vice president of Torc System Design and Safety Engineering. He joins Torc from Cruise, where he was responsible for technical product management.
Demand Generation Manager. Mapbox.
Head of Navigation SDK. Mapbox.
Financial Accountant. Taoglas.
Senior Business Development, South China. u-blox.
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