Applanix and WatCAR collaborate on advanced technologies for autonomous vehicles


Part of the Trimble navigation technology group Applanix is collaborating on advanced research for autonomous vehicle (AV) guidance and control systems with the University of Waterloo Center for Automotive Research (WatCAR) in Ontario, Canada.

Applanix will provide WatCAR with its industry-leading Positioning and Orientation System (POS) for testing autonomous guidance and control systems in real-world conditions. Applanix will also provide the Trimble GNSS-Inertial board set for integration with car systems and sensors to enable precise positioning.

The Applanix POS LV (Land Vehicles) equipment is an industry-leading system for robust, reliable and repeatable positioning in on- and off-road vehicles. Applanix technology will be used by WatCAR to assess the performance of the guidance and control systems on board their AVs. This testing will take place in challenging weather conditions and environments, including on roads under repair, with lane reductions and closures, are wet or covered in snow, and where there is poor visibility.

Applanix will also provide WatCAR with Trimble’s onboard GNSS-Inertial board set designed for high-performance, high-volume OEM applications. These products, currently used in a variety of AV programs, include the Trimble AP GNSS-Inertial board set that includes a high-precision Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).

Small, rugged and low powered, the AP board sets provide the precise positioning needed for AV applications. Ideal for use on all sizes and types of vehicles, the AP boards feature Trimble’s high-performance precision GNSS receivers and Applanix’ industry-leading IN-Fusion GNSS-Inertial integrated technology that produces uninterrupted position, roll, pitch and true heading measurements of moving platforms. Integrating easily with vehicle sensors, the AP board sets are essential for precise vehicle control in constantly changing environments.

“We are excited to collaborate with WatCAR on this leading research in autonomous vehicle technology,” said Louis Nastro, director of land products at Applanix. “We have been committed to meeting the needs of autonomous vehicle manufacturers for more than a decade, as first demonstrated in the early days of the DARPA Grand Challenge. And today, we are also part of many autonomous vehicle programs deployed worldwide in commercial applications.”

Ross McKenzie, managing director of WatCAR, commented, “We welcome the opportunity to work with Applanix, as their technology identifies, with very high accuracy, the exact location of our vehicle at all times. Applanix is a valued industry partner and their team is great to work with. Going forward we anticipate a solution that will enable autonomous vehicles to traverse the real world reliably and safely.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).