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An EU-funded initiative has developed a low-cost positioning and navigation system for unmanned aerial systems (UASs), commonly referred to as drones.

UASs have attracted growing interest for use in agriculture, public safety, smart cities, sustainable resource management, and many other areas. There is now a significant demand for an affordable, reliable system that can provide estimations of attitude and position for these devices.

The EU-funded Horizon 2020 GLAD-2 project addressed this need, developing a low-cost attitude determination and navigation system. This system computes low-level data received via a multi-antenna global navigation satellite system (GNSS).

“We created a low-cost platform that can be adapted to different user needs through careful selection and evaluation of commercial off-the-shelf components and implementation of advanced data fusion algorithms,” said project coordinator Esther López of Spanish tech company ACORDE.

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GLAD-2 successfully achieved the commercialization of a low-cost navigation system based on sensor fusion and a multi-antenna platform, according to the researchers. This culminated in the European Conformity (CE) certification mark following the corresponding certification process, they said.

The CE mark indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic area.

The final result is a highly competitive product aimed at the low-cost sector of the navigation systems market. “Due to its flexibility the system fulfills the needs of a wide range of users, not only in UASs, but also in terrestrial and maritime environments applications,” said López.