When GPS satellite navigation is not available, alternative location methods are required to create location awareness. Moving groups of objects require relative position information within the group. Absolute position information is used in stationary environments like buildings or unterground mines. With its unique CSS (Chirp Spread Spectrum) technology, nanotron has products for both schemes and now also allows composite systems to be blended together, thereby providing simultaneous support for mixed collaborative and fixed location.
Collaborative location uses relative positions to provide location-awareness. Radio nodes determine the distance to neighbors by exchanging packets and measuring their time of flight (TOF) at the speed of light. This method is called ranging. Radios are autonomous, location infrastructure is not required.
Fixed location uses fixed reference points or "anchors" to provide location awareness. Anchors are connected to a standard network, and a central computer or server tracks the positions of the tags. Because this method is based on time difference of arrival (TDOA), only one data packet sent from the tag is required to get a position fix in 1D, 2D and 3D. The need to only transmit a single packet reduces the power consumption of the tag significantly. Less packets in the air per position fix allow for a large number of objects to be tracked.
nanotron's product portfolio for the embedded location platform consists of three main groups: swarm, RTLS, transceiver. swarm products are mostly used for collaborative location, whereas RTLS products primarily provide solutions in fixed location. The transceiver offers different levels of integration and serves as a basic key component of nanotron's all other products.