Trusted Positioning Inc. is a company focused on improving positioning data indoors and outdoors, for consumer and industrial use cases, by fusing data from inertial sensors, GNSS and wireless positioning data (e.g. WiFi). T-PN is its indoor navigation software platform. Inertial sensors, especially accelerometers, gyroscopes and pressure sensors, have the potential to help in positioning as they can give an idea of heading and distance travelled when GNSS or other positioning sources are missing.
CES and the Mobile World Congress have for years teased the possibilities of inertial sensor aided indoor navigation. With InvenSense themselves working on this with demos at CES in 2011 in cooperation with Point Inside and teasing the functionality by itself in later years. Movea (just acquired by InvenSense as well) has also demoed its own solution to indoor navigation with the French SNCF and South Korea’s SK Telecom. However, real world demonstrations were not quite right. Implementing motion sensor based indoor navigation is a difficult task though due to sensor drift, especially with consumer grade gyroscopes. InvenSense’s acquisition of Trusted positioning is a recognition of the challenge and the will to address it.
Is indoor navigation coming? A number of facts coincide and seem to announce indoor navigation:
- Google and Nokia have been making great efforts to build up a large database of indoor maps for venues globally.
- Apple bought WiFiSLAM in 2013 as a hint towards its efforts on indoor mapping and navigation with the aid of Wi-Fi signals.
- Apple and Google are getting ready to support wireless indoor location technologies such as Bluetooth wireless beacons and iBeacons. Apple introduced iBeacon support with iOS 7 and Android support this technology from Android 4.3.
- Samsung has already equipped its flagship models Galaxy S and Note with pressure sensors for floor accuracy in anticipation of the deployment of indoor navigation.
What’s in for InvenSense?
The motion sensor market is becoming rapidly commoditized. Indoor navigation is one of the only applications which calls for better performance (lower drift) gyroscopes and which may allow for a price premium on performance. With this acquisition InvenSense intends to take the lead in a segment where OEMs might be ready to pay more for performance.