Recently, many smart models of many car manufacturers have added high-precision integrated navigation to their automatic driving system, and mass production is about to be realized. This may mean that high-precision positioning products represented by integrated navigation will soon become standard in smart car front-mounted applications, and market demand will show exponential growth.
At the just-concluded WGDC 2021 conference, Beiyun Technology, a high-precision positioning core component research and development manufacturer, brought the latest car-level integrated navigation positioning unit X2 to the exhibition. Mr. Xiang Wei, CEO of Beiyun Technology, mentioned in his speech that “the application of high-precision integrated navigation in smart cars is the general trend.”
The so-called integrated navigation refers to an integrated navigation system that combines multiple systems. At present, in the automatic driving of smart cars, the main application is a combined navigation solution that combines high-precision satellite positioning and IMU (Inertial Navigation Unit).
The author has learned that high-precision integrated navigation has now become the optimal solution to the problem of high-precision positioning of automobiles, which is particularly important for the development of smart cars and autonomous driving in the future. In fact, almost all of the high-level autonomous driving solutions exhibited by major manufacturers at the Shanghai Auto Show this year include high-precision integrated navigation.
Customized for smart car front
As one of the earliest domestic technology companies that are deeply involved in the field of high-precision positioning, Beiyun Technology launched the X1 integrated navigation system at the beginning of last year. “WGDC2021 Best Word-of-mouth Product Award”. Taking advantage of the strong momentum of development in the aftermarket, Beiyun Technology has made a breakthrough and released a new car-level integrated navigation positioning unit X2 this year, with the intention of further promoting the mass production process of major automakers and autonomous driving companies.
Beiyun technology vehicle-level deep-coupling integrated navigation positioning unit X2
It is understood that the X2 is based on the GNSS/INS deep-coupled integrated navigation technology architecture, which can be used in urban canyons, tunnels, viaducts, elevated auxiliary roads, heavy fog, rain, snow, and dust, severe weather, traffic jams, neon night markets, lane line wear, and open features. In harsh scenes such as road sections, outputting absolute centimeter-level position information above 200 Hz can make up for the deficiencies of sensors such as lidars and cameras in these harsh scenes. It can also incorporate odometers, etc., to further improve the accuracy and stability of the combined positioning.
At the same time, X2 adds a richer interface, not only can support vehicle Ethernet, GPTP (precision clock protocol), for areas with poor N-RTK service coverage and overseas users, L-band signal reception and PPP/PPP are added. -RTK function, and seamless switching of RTK/PPP mode, can still provide high-precision positioning through satellite-based enhanced signals in an environment where there is no mobile signal.
X2 deep coupling integrated navigation system architecture
Xiang Wei said that since X2 is mainly aimed at mass-produced customers, the price of a single product will drop significantly. As for how far the price can go down, Xiang Wei did not say clearly. X2’s official slogan reads: “RTK price, professional-grade integrated navigation performance”, from which you can get a glimpse of one or two.
Professional integrated navigation performance comparable to international standards
At present, in the field of global integrated navigation products, after recent years of catching up, domestic and foreign manufacturers have been relatively close in the RTK algorithm part, and there is not much difference. Now, everyone is competing for integration and integrated navigation algorithms.
Trimble, Novatel, and domestic Beiyun Technology and other manufacturers that started with satellite positioning are all integrated navigation products based on their own RTK chips, so they have more advantages in integration. Beiyun Technology’s new X2 car-level integrated navigation product is based on Beiyun Technology’s self-developed RTK chip. Through the design of a single-board card, it achieves the integration of satellite positioning and IMU at the bottom level, making the overall size of X2 comparable to one. The size of the ID card is similar.
From the deeper level of the underlying algorithm, the current integrated navigation algorithms are divided into three types: loose coupling, tight coupling and deep coupling, and the difficulty of algorithm implementation increases in order.
Loose coupling uses RTK positioning results + IMU raw data to achieve fusion. It is equivalent to tight coupling and deep coupling in scenarios where there is no satellite signal at all such as tunnels and underground garages. However, in scenarios where there is satellite signal but the signal is blocked, Such as urban canyons, the positioning effect is not as good as tight coupling and deep coupling.
The tight coupling uses RTK positioning results + GNSS raw data + IMU raw data. It can effectively use the satellite observation data under the signal occlusion environment to improve the positioning effect. The realization of tightly coupled algorithms requires manufacturers to have both R&D capabilities of RTK positioning algorithm and integrated navigation algorithm.
However, the tightly coupled algorithm still cannot achieve the best results when the quality of the GNSS raw data is poor. In fact, in harsh environments such as tree-shaded and sheltered buildings, GNSS is prone to abnormal phenomena such as frequent loss of lock and observation and measurement jumps, which can easily cause abnormal positioning. The deep-coupled integrated navigation algorithm can effectively solve this problem.
Based on the tight coupling algorithm, the deep coupling algorithm uses IMU raw data to assist GNSS signal acquisition and tracking, and assists the carrier tracking loop through the accurate relative Doppler change information of the IMU to improve the accuracy of Doppler estimation in harsh environments, thereby improving In harsh environments, the accuracy and continuity of observations such as wave phase and pseudorange can be downloaded, and the interruption and jump of observations can be reduced, thereby effectively improving the accuracy and reliability of integrated navigation. In addition, the use of deep coupling algorithms can also effectively detect spoofing signals and protect integrated navigation equipment from interference.
The deep coupling algorithm is the most difficult to implement, and the positioning effect in the urban canyon is also the best. The realization of deep-coupling algorithms requires not only the ability to develop tightly-coupled algorithms, but also GNSS radio frequency and baseband receiving capabilities. Currently, only companies that develop RTK chips can do it. Beiyun Technology’s car-grade integrated navigation unit X2 is based on its own RTK positioning chip and integrated with a deep-coupled integrated navigation algorithm. The measured results show that deep-coupling can improve positioning accuracy compared with ordinary loose-coupling. 3~7 times, tighter coupling positioning accuracy can be improved by 2~5 times.
In the industry, only a few companies with self-developed RTK chips have mastered this technology, and most integrated navigation manufacturers focus on loose coupling technology.
Measured advantages of deep coupling
For the road section, the fixed solution ratio is 15.18%, and the number of available stars is not less than two. The ratio is 76.34%. Loose coupling mainly uses fixed solutions, and deep coupling can use data with more than 2 stars.
Actual measurement shows that in harsh environments such as elevated roundabouts, deep-coupled positioning can reduce the error by 3-7 times compared with loosely-coupled positioning.
Cost drops to the stage of pre-installation and mass production
In the interview, Xiangwei believes that integrated navigation has a lot to do in the field of smart cars, and in order to enter the smart car market on a large scale, integrated navigation needs to further reduce costs. At present, there are three main ways to reduce costs: one is independent research and development of key chips and devices, and the advantage of BOM cost is mastered; the second is automated production, which improves the quality of the process and expands the productivity per person-hour; and the third is to increase the scale and share the R&D costs.
Beiyun Technology has two independently developed and mass-produced high-precision positioning chips, and has obtained two registration certificates for integrated circuit layout designs and more than 30 national invention patents.
It can be seen that the cost of using self-developed chips by Apple is three-quarters lower than that of purchasing intel chips. It can be seen that mastering the independent research and development of key chips and devices is essential for cost control. At the same time, Beiyun Technology’s next-generation integrated navigation chip with higher integration will soon be mass-produced, which will further improve performance and reduce costs.
Secondly, Beiyun Technology has introduced ISO26262, ASPICE, and AECQ certifications. The high-precision integrated navigation and positioning products based on self-developed chips have passed the German Rheinland IATF16949 car-level certification, CE certification, FCC certification, RoHS certification and all aspects of German SGS Test certification, etc. And invested heavily to build a fully automated production line, the production capacity can reach 200,000 sets / article / year, and can quickly expand the production capacity to 3 million sets / year in 3 months. Fully automated production can effectively improve product technology and quality, expand unit man-hour production capacity, and greatly reduce labor costs.
Finally, Beiyun has launched the vehicle-grade integrated navigation positioning unit X2, which is gradually expanding Beiyun’s share in the smart car pre-installation market. Currently, mass production models of many well-known automakers and autonomous driving companies are being imported. It is expected to form a positive cycle of scale up and cost reduction in the short term.
Competitiveness of domestic integrated navigation manufacturers is becoming stronger
It is understood that Beiyun Technology signed a strategic cooperation agreement with driving test leader Duolun Technology in 2018 to fully replace similar foreign products. At present, in the thousands of driving test venues in more than 400 cities in more than 30 provinces and cities across the country, tens of thousands of Taipei cloud products are running across the country every day, providing credible centimeter-level positioning for the driving test system in each city. Based on this, Beiyun Technology has formed a large-scale verification of the order of 100,000 in the field of on-board driving test, which has gone through several winters and summers, spanning the north and south.
As of May 2021, Beiyun Technology’s products have been exported to more than 30 countries around the world. Among them, the integrated navigation shipments in the smart car after-installation market have exceeded 10,000 sets, which are mainly used in auto-driving test vehicles, unmanned sweeping vehicles, and auto-driving heavy trucks.
I have to admit that Beiyun Technology already has deep technical accumulation and extraordinary innovation capabilities in the fields of high-precision positioning and multi-source fusion positioning. Beiyun Technology has gradually established unique technical advantages, cost advantages and application advantages through independent research and development of key chips and devices, as well as large-scale testing and applications.
Based on the technology accumulation and market exploration of Beiyun Technology for many years, integrated navigation seems to have come to the eve of the market explosion. In the context of the rapid drive of market demand and the large domestic cycle, domestically-made automotive-grade high-precision integrated navigation products will usher in an explosion of demand, and Beiyun Technology will also play a very important role in this.
Beiyun Technology Co., Ltd. is a high-tech enterprise focusing on the research and development of the core components of GNSS high-precision satellite navigation, providing high-precision positioning solutions for aerospace, intelligent networked vehicles, autonomous driving, geological disaster monitoring, drones, industrial control and other fields , Products cover high-precision boards, high-precision receivers and integrated navigation systems centered on chips and algorithms.