06. 02. 2024

5 min

Author: Ondrej Kútik

Precision in motion: Achieving operational excellence in transportation and logistics

Dive into the world of GNSS-based solutions and their impact on transportation and logistics. Learn how technological advancements are setting new standards for the industry.


When topics like fleet tracking and management arise, many of us instinctively associate them with GPS. However, while there’s obviously a close relationship between them, the future of location-tracking extends into the much broader realm of GNSS.

Most consumer-grade GPS receivers can determine position to a degree of accuracy of around three to five meters – and even that requires a clear line of sight to the sky. Assisted tracking, such as by combining satellite data with inertial system, odometry, or cellular network do help overcome this limitation, but only to a degree.

Of course, that’s not nearly close enough for intelligent and autonomous systems like drones and other self-driving vehicles. Because of this, most countries set rigid requirements for using autonomous vehicles beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). 

High-availability, high-precision localisation is also crucial in other logistical operations, like fleet tracking and management, geofencing, or last mile delivery. This is not just a luxury, but a necessity in today's fast-paced and efficiency-driven logistics world. Accurate and reliable location data is crucial for optimising routes, keeping logistics operations safe, reducing fuel consumption, enhancing delivery times, and ensuring overall operational excellence. This level of precision becomes even more important when performing logistics operations in a public area, where people are likely to be present and other systems in use.

Ensuring reliability, safety, and continuity

Unlocking the future of enhanced navigation in transportation and logistics requires systems that can overcome the inherent limitations of satellite navigation. To achieve the centimetre-level accuracy required in such use cases, we must introduce a range of other technologies, including GNSS corrections, inertial systems, HD maps 3D models, and computer vision. 

GNSS corrections systems include real-time kinematics (RTK), precise point positioning (PPP) services like Galileo’s High Accuracy Service (HAS), and satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS). In a near future, GNSS corrections might include integrity information, defined by the RTCM SC-134 Special Committee as the standard “Integrity for GNSS-based High Accuracy Applications”. This significantly boosts the measure of trust that end users can put into the system.

Inertial measurement units (IMUs) can help to maintain positional accuracy for a specific time. In environments where GNSS signals are weak or blocked, such as in tunnels, dense urban areas, or under dense foliage, IMUs can maintain an accurate estimation of position, orientation, and velocity for a short period, but their accuracy diminishes over time due to the inherent error accumulation in their measurements.

HD maps is vital for enhancing continuity and safety in autonomous operations and fleet-tracking. HD maps can have multiple layers, each containing different types of information, such as geometric layers and real-time data layers. Real-time layers might include forecasted information of available GNSS satellites with Line of Sight (LOS) visibility to supress multipath effects. By including detailed information of the surrounding environment, these maps can facilitate more efficient route-planning and real-time adjustments needed to reduce fuel consumption and avoid congestion. This data is crucial in maintaining accuracy, reducing risk, optimising mission planning, and achieving regulatory compliance. Better yet, it can empower a degree of foresight needed to qualify and quantify risk and anticipate potential difficulties.

These technologies themselves must be deeply integrated and supported by a highly available infrastructure that features built-in redundancy and low latency. 

The need for a tailored infrastructure solution to support GNSS-based services is clear. High-performance servers optimised for very low-latency operations are essential, as are fail-over mechanisms, load balancing, and real-time monitoring and analytics. To maintain the critical infrastructure resistant against attacks and to keep the personal data safe, concepts like end-to-end encryption, next-generation firewalls, and regular security audits are natural part of the system.

Advanced GNSS-based solutions can also facilitate regulatory compliance and reporting by providing timely and accurate logs and reports on things like vehicle routes, speeds, and operational efficiency. This is vital in use cases like hazardous material transport and emergency response operations, since it offers an extra layer of safety and accountability. 

We can split the aforementioned solutions for improving GNSS positioning into two main categories. The first are systems for identifying and excluding unhealthy signals from positioning calculations, rather than directly compensating for signal loss. The second approach is to incorporate alternative means to determine position, such as computer vision or inertial measurement units (IMUs). Using multiple approaches together ensures that positioning systems remain as accurate as possible, even in more challenging environments.

By integrating multiple technologies and data sources, GNSS-based solutions not only respond to current conditions but can also anticipate and prepare for future challenges. This proactive stance is fundamental in maintaining the highest standards of safety, efficiency, and compliance – particularly in autonomous operations.

Navmatix works with companies serving the transportation and logistics industry to develop high-precision GNSS-based solutions and dependable managed services. Get in touch today to find out more.

Written by:
Ondrej Kútik Chief Technology Officer at Navmatix

We are Navmatix

Together we support GNSS technology companies to bring innovative services to the market