Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) in Nuremberg have developed a set of software tools for developing navigation and positioning systems on mobile phones and devices that does not depend on information from global positioning systems.
They are presenting the software, awiloc, at this week’s Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, and are looking for partners across Europe to build applications based on it.
awiloc makes use of the existing broad-coverage wireless local area network (WLAN) transmitters in cities and buildings, measuring the received signal strength distribution of these transmitters to determine its own position, without the need for data to be communicated. Even if the radio networks are secured, positioning still works, because the devices do not have to connect. To determine position, the software uses an electronic map that contains the reference data using the received signal strength data of the anonymous WLAN transmitters.
“By using our comprehensive software kit, licensees can simply realise their own navigation and positioning solutions,” said Steffen Meyer, who was responsible for the development of awiloc in the Communications Network Department at the IIS. Users of the software will be able to license existing reference data of German city centres.
Meyer added, “Together with our partners, these solutions have already been realised in Germany. Now, it’s time for applications in Europe to follow suit. Our established WLAN positioning testbed for technology development is increasingly becoming an open consortium [and we are] seeking partners in Europe to jointly implement new location-based services.”
The software currently supports the Windows Mobile and Android platforms and support for the Apple iPhone will start by summer. Awiloc was developed independently of platforms, and can be integrated with IIS licenses into conventional navigation and mobile cellular devices.