Velocity

2013

NovAtel's Annual Journal of GNSS Technology Solutions and Innovation

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chinese driving Over time, improvements in GNSS technology and substantial reductions in cost brought the concept into the realm of practical possibility. "Our ability to deliver a cost-effecitve solution with short lead times was critical to meeting the customers's schedule and budget requirements" says Cameron Henderson, a NovAtel product manager who works closely with BDStar and StarNeto. Recognizing its invention and initial rollout in China, NovAtel worked with BDStar and StarNeto to provide BeiDou support to the system even before China published an interface control document (ICD) for its GNSS system. Chinese developers had access to NovAtel's application programming interface, Henderson says; so, a NovAtel receiver provided a measurement from BeiDou signals to Chinese system developers who had early access to the technical specifications, enabling them to add the BeiDou signals to the ALIGN solution. Similarities between BeiDou and GPS made for rapid integration of BeiDou capability into existing NovAtel systems, Henderson says. StarNeto uses a Chinese GNSS antenna specifically designed to work with its driver examination system. Change agent The automated driver testing system has already made a difference. Before this system was implemented, 90 percent of applicants passed this part of the driving exam, says Lu, reflecting the subjective element For more Solutions visit http:/ /www.novatel.com in having human test evaluators. After the automated system was installed, only about 10 percent passed the test, he says, a figure that is now up to about 50 to 60 percent 'pass', reflecting the effect of driver training enterprises adopting the technology. The automated system reduces labor costs and improves training. In the past, one policeman was needed for each car/driver being tested. Now, one policeman in the test facility's control center can monitor nearly 100 cars and drivers at a time. Marketing to driver training schools was a natural next step. "If you are a training company [or a license applicant] you want to be in the same situation as at the test," says Li. "Of people who have trained with and then tested with this system, 70 percent pass the exams," Lu adds. The market really took off last year, according to Lu, and StarNeto's sales volume for the system is now in the thousands of units. "It was the right time and the right place for the right thing." "The government wanted better-trained drivers, and driver training companies want to sell more lessons," says Li. "NovAtel and BDStar found a new market." Geographically adjacent markets are probably the next target for StarNeto's system. "Not every country needs this technology," says Li, "but certainly other southeast Asian nations could represent a wider market outside China." Novatel's ALIGN heading system provides orientation of a vehicle. Image credit: NovAtel illustration Automated driver test/ training system on board unit in truck of demonstration vehicle. 2013 velocity 39

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