Testing Novel Positioning Capabilities

FrontierSI was central to the testing and economic case for the development of an operational SBAS capability for Australia as described in separate case study.

FrontierSI was responsible for managing and supporting user testing through the series of Test-bed projects in each industry sector.

FrontierSI’s predecessor the CRC for Spatial Information also conducted world first demonstrations in Australia in 2015 and 2016 of the use of the Japanese QZSS signal in delivering real-time, centimetre-accurate precise point positioning (PPP) in Australia. This research involved a collaboration between the research team and colleagues at the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and ultimately lead to an “Australian-made” LEX message for testing.

In the trial local ionospheric corrections were computed in real-time using the Victorian GPSnet stations with the aim of reducing solution convergence times and enhancing positioning accuracies. In partnership with FrontierSI partner, Position Partners, the performance  of the PPP-RTK solution delivered through the QZSS LEX signal was demonstrated in real-time dynamic applications such as machine control in landfill mining. The performance target was centimetre-level positioning accuracies within two minutes of solution convergence.

A further trial was the first-ever demonstrations in Australia of a driverless robotic tractor navigated remotely and accurately (to within 5cm of true) by a satellite. The tractor accessed the communications channel on the Japanese positioning satellite QZSS without being connected to a mobile phone network. The satellite also operated the tractor’s power take off unit, and was demonstrated in Jerilderie at the Rice Research Institute. This demonstration put Australia right at the forefront of developing the capability to control autonomous vehicles safely and reliably by satellite anywhere on the continent, irrespective of access to our existing communications network, a plus in remote areas. The research was set up under an MOU between the Australian Minister for Industry and the Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications.  This trial was later replicated in Mackay, Queensland with sugar farmers.

A further trial was conducted in 2020 by FrontierSI in conjunction with Geoscience Australia, Japanese Government, Softbank, RMIT, UNSW, NSW Spatial Services, NSW SES, NSW RFS and EMA.  The trial used the Quasi Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) to conduct an Emergency Warning Service (EWS) pilot, using live QZSS signals with compatible receivers.

This trial  focussed on bushfire warnings with a particular emphasis on exploring message incorporation on the available signal bandwidth, and the spatial coverage extent of the messages. A series of tests was  conducted in support of this goal, including field trials in Victoria and NSW with simulated emergency events which would require fast response, including bushfires.

The successful trial showed that satellite-based Emergency Warning Service could merit subsequent development.


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