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New GPS modules slash power consumption

Sep 11, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

U-blox, the Swiss provider of GPS technology, has announced GPS modules it says are more sensitive and use 60 percent less power than its previous offerings. The U-blox 6 will also offer a shorter TTFF (time to first fix) and stronger acquisition of weak signals, the company says.

Without providing specific packaging information, U-blox said its new U-Blox 6 products will be pin-for-pin compatible with the company's previous U-blox 5 modules. To be offered as the UBX-G6010 single-chip solution pictured at right, as the UBX-G6000/G0010 chipset, or as upgraded, 1.8-volt Neo modules, the U-blox 6 will use 60 percent less power than the U-blox 5, and will also add compatibility with the European Galileo satellite network, the company says.

It's said the U-blox 6 will also be compatible with the company's proprietary "Yuma" software-plus-service offering, a "capture-and-process" technology claimed to give "portable, non-realtime" GPS products weeks or months of battery life. Yuma makes the U-blox 6 especially appropriate for automotive navigation systems, low-power loggers, plus geotagging cameras and smartphones, the company says.

Touting a 3dB improvement in signal sensitivity compared to the U-blox 5, plus faster acquisition of satellites when signals are week, U-blox lists the following specifications and attributes for the U-blox 6 modules:

  • Position engine with over 2 million effective correlators
  • Acquisition in less than one second
  • -147 dBm acquisition sensitivity (cold start)
  • -160 dBm tracking sensitivity
  • 5Hz update rate
  • GALILEO-ready
  • Yuma capture-and-process technology records positions in under .2 seconds

Andreas Thiel, co-founder of U-blox, stated, "Market demand increases for GPS solutions with high sensitivity, long battery life and instant location capture. U-blox 6 based products will bring significant benefits to OEMs of real-time GPS products as well as to extremely low-power logger applications requiring weeks or months of battery life."


According to U-blox, the UBX-G6010 and UBX-G6000/G0010 will be sampling by the end of this year, and the company's Lea and Neo receiver modules will be upgraded "shortly afterwards." U-blox made no specific claims about operating systems compatibility for the new Neo 5D and 5G. However, GPS receivers are generally cross-platform, interfacing with a host operating system via their serial interfaces. Further information may be found on the company's website, here.

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