Electronics Production | October 06, 2006
Nordnav and SiGe Semiconductor Collaborate on GPS/Galileo Receiver
SiGe Semiconductor, Inc. and Nordnav Technologies AB announced they've collaborated on a GPS/Galileo receiver for consumer electronic products.
The companies have combined SiGe's SE4120L radio front-end with Nordnav's E5000 software to offer a receiver system with the high performance, small size and power efficiency that is essential for mobile devices including laptops, portable media players, and cellular phones. The combination of technologies from Nordnav and SiGe also provides manufacturers with a flexible architecture that will meet evolving standard requirements. SiGe's SE4120L receiver IC used with Nordnav's GNSS software provides the highest level of GPS performance today, along with a simple software upgrade to Galileo when the Galileo system becomes operational. The unique software/hardware architecture also speeds design, test and verification of new GNSS systems in challenging environments. Galileo and GPS are complementary satellite systems which, when used together, will greatly improve user experience of location based services. Using GPS and Galileo satellites, navigation devices will be able to offer meter-accuracy position data faster and more precisely than with one system alone. As a result, location services can be used in places where GPS has been previously unavailable including urban canyons, dense forests and deep indoor locations such as office buildings and shopping centers. This greatly improved user experience will drive the adoption of location services in a diverse set of consumer products from cellular phones and media players to security devices. “Our innovative radio architecture will open new markets for GNSS systems by making software solutions viable in applications that previously required more expensive dedicated hardware," said Stuart Strickland, product line director, SiGe Semiconductor. “The solution allows a high-performance receiver system without the need for dedicated baseband hardware and without overburdening the host processor. This architecture meets the size, battery life and price requirements of mass market consumer applications." Manufacturers who want high-performance satellite positioning have previously faced a choice between dedicated hardware basebands that offer good performance, but are power hungry and expensive, or software-based solutions with compromised performance and high demands on host resources. SiGe Semiconductor and Nordnav have overcome this challenge with a unique combination of software and hardware that both, eliminates the requirement for a dedicated baseband controller, and also reduces the load on the host processor. Nordnav's E5000 offers a significant cost advantage as well as superior performance with faster acquisition, lower battery consumption and significantly reduced footprint in the host device. The software works seamlessly with SiGe's SE4120L radio front-end. The SE4120L, announced last week, is a highly integrated receiver with built-in support for software-defined satellite signal processing for both GPS and Galileo. The highly integrated architecture eliminates several external components from the bill of materials, and reduces power consumption by over 50 percent while minimizing board area and maintaining high overall performance. “SiGe's SE4120L is the only Galileo RF IC available today for commercial product development," said Mattias Åström, CEO of Nordnav. “Our previous experience with SiGe's radio technology has proven that together we can provide the highest performance and most cost-effective receiver solution available for software GNSS." Systems using the SE4120L and Nordnav R&D tools supporting Galileo will be demonstrated at the ION conference held this week in Fort Worth, Texas (stand 504-506). Evaluation platforms will be available to customers beginning in October with mass production scheduled for Q1 2006.