Motorola tracks mobile position

Motorola tracks mobile position
Tom Foremski Motorola will use mobile phone positioning technology from US firm SnapTrack and has followed Texas Instruments (TI) in taking a minority share in the company. “We are impressed with SnapTrack’s concept, and recent CDMA tests in Tampa, Florida have provided real data that demonstrates the capability of the technology,” said Motorola v-p Mario Rivas. The interest in mobile handset location schemes is due to the Emergency 911 directive from the US Federal Communications Commission which stipulates that from October 2001 the location of emergency callers in the US must be identified to an accuracy of 125 metres. In addition to Motorola, the Florida tests involved handset producers Samsung and Fujitsu as well as semiconductor firms TI and VLSI Technology. SnapTrack said it managed to achieve a positional accuracy of eight metres in the open, and up to 72 metres in urban environments. Its technology involves the execution of software on the handset’s DSP, avoiding the need for a global positioning system (GPS) chipset. To identify the handset’s location, use is made of cellular basestations. This enables the technology to work in dense urban areas where access to open skies – as required by GPS – is difficult. And because the technology is software based, SnapTrack says that the costs of meeting the FCC mandate are considerably less than a GPS solution. However, SnapTrack faces stiff competition from GPS technology firm SiRF Technology which has already announced agreements with handset makers Ericsson and Nokia.


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