Evaluation of Low-Cost, Centimeter-Level Accuracy OEM GNSS Receivers


John Jackson, Ricardo Saborio, Syed Anas Ghazanfar, Demoz Gebre-Egziabher, Brian Davis

February 2018

Report no. MnDOT 2018-10

This report discusses the results of a study to quantify the performance of low-cost, centimeter-level accurate Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) receivers that have appeared on the market in the last few years. Centimeter-level accuracy is achieved using a complex algorithm known as real-time kinematic (RTK) processing. It involves processing correction data from a ground network of GNSS receivers in addition to the signals transmitted by the GNSS satellites. This makes RTK-capable receivers costly (in excess of $10,000) and bulky, making them unsuitable for cost- and size-sensitive transportation applications (e.g., driver assist systems in vehicles). If inexpensive GNSS receivers capable of generating a position solution with centimeter accuracy were widely available, they would push the GNSS revolution in ground transportation even further as an enabler of safety enhancements such as ubiquitous lane-departure warning systems and enhanced stability-control systems. Recently manufacturers have been advertising the availability of low-cost (< $1,000) RTK-capable receivers. The work described in this report provides an independent performance assessment of these receivers relative to high-end (and costly) receivers in realistic settings encountered in transportation applications.

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