There is no doubt autonomy has a part to play in our future.
Autonomous vehicles are already revolutionising the transport industry; improving efficiency and enabling the redirection of human resource to more valuable projects. Working in private and, heavily monitored, public operational design domains (ODDs), the applications that are being impacted by autonomy range from smaller robotic systems as part of industrial autonomy, to robotaxis providing Mobility-as-a-Service.
However, the dreams of what autonomy can achieve extend far beyond this.
As this development continues, we are aware of the vital role that localisation plays in autonomy’s success, regardless of its application.
That is why, with our heritage of manufacturing reliable and trustworthy inertial navigation systems (INS), we now not only support the validation of autonomy, we help deliver it.
Where does OxTS fit within autonomy?
Autonomy starts by knowing where you are in the world.
Whether this is globally, or within your local mapped out ODD the autonomous system needs to know where it is, which way it is facing, and which way up it is. It needs to know this reliably, and in a variety of challenging environments. This is what OxTS provides.
Couple location with perception, and you can create a truer to life understanding of your position, in respect to other things. This then informs dynamic route planning, object identification and avoidance, and can also support localisation through different navigation updates.
Your destination is an anomaly within autonomy, as understanding where a system needs to go will likely always have a human input. Whether it was coded in for a repeatable shuttle run between stations, or whether it’s someone hailing a robotaxi, there is an external input to the autonomy system to let it know where it should end up.
By knowing where you are, what’s around you and where you’re going, you can add a routing layer; giving the actual path for an autonomous vehicle to pursue, to reach its destination. There may be multiple ways of doing this, with decisions being made ahead of time in the routing layer as to which is safer, more efficient, fastest etc.
Your current and desired motion
And then, at this point, the autonomous system can begin its movement. For safe control, these systems will continuously loop through the localisation and perception data. This allows systems to check progress along the route, and ensure the controlling decisions being made are correct. As an example, when perceiving road works or people, the system will dynamically re-route; or, when coming to a corner or junction it will re-evaluate its speed and braking.
Where do we fit?
While the above is a clear simplification of what autonomy is and how it is enacted; at OxTS, we believe that reliable, uninterrupted, localisation data is a core part of any autonomous system.
What does OxTS offer for autonomy?
OxTS offers localisation data through our inertial navigation systems, and for autonomy this comes in the shape of our AV200.
This is our answer to, “Where am I?” which can then support both routing and control layers that require it to function safely.
At its core, we offer a tightly integrated IMU and GNSS system, supporting centimetre-level localisation in good GNSS conditions.
However, we know that “good GNSS conditions” are not always available, while the ability to maintain the reliable localisation data is crucial to the uninterrupted running of the autonomous vehicle. To manage this, OxTS offers increased integration capabilities with our generic aiding interface. This is where OxTS can combine your localisation and perception capabilities to create improved performance for both.
For example, you can integrate a wheelspeed or LiDAR sensor to provide odometry input, reducing your position drift when GNSS becomes unavailable, while also supporting RTK re-lock when you can trust the GNSS updates again.
All this means that we can offer a trusted INS for localisation that is part of a federated localisation system; while, at the same time, enable those that need the INS to be the central point of navigation data, to run our sensor-fusion, allowing them to concentrate on their differentiated value proposition.
How to use OxTS for your autonomous solution
If you’re currently scoping a system for autonomy, and need localisation you can trust, then get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a conversation about how our hardware, software and services can support your integrations and ambitions.