‘Technologies for vehicle positioning’ is Tesla’s latest patent application which was filed last year and made public this week.
Tesla’s patent offers various advantages involving cameras detecting matching locations and using other vehicles in its fleet as “cooperative reference station” to share raw GNSS data and make positioning corrections.
The company describes the technology in the patent application:
“It improves positioning accuracy despite the factors that affect the signals from the navigation satellites. The inventions increase such positioning accuracy via determining and applying offsets (corrections) in various ways, or via sharing of raw positioning data between a plurality of devices, where at least one knows its location sufficiently accurately, for use in differential algorithms. For example, some of such techniques can include (a) a reference station sharing a positional offset with an automobile, (b) a reference station calculating and sharing a set of parameters (offsets/corrections) for various error components including atmospheric, orbital, and clock, and/or (c) a reference station sharing its raw GNSS data so that vehicles can remove errors through differencing, or other calculations.”
Without necessarily sharing data between vehicles, Tesla also found a way to correct GPS data using other sensors.
This solution would also enable Tesla vehicles to have more accurate positioning data even where the GPS signal is not as strong as they would like. Hence, this more accurate positioning system would be especially useful for autonomous driving applications and Tesla clearly intended it to be used by its Autopilot system since all the inventors listed on the patent applications were part of the Autopilot team at the time.