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Automotive engineering

Alpha Micro launches ultimate indoor/outdoor positioning module
NEO-M8L for vehicle and high accuracy navigation applications

Next generation performance for road vehicle systems is now a reality with the launch of the u-blox NEO-M8L all-in-one Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) module featuring continuous 3D positioning and 100 % coverage, from M2M and IOT communications expert Alpha Micro Components.

Perfect for all road vehicle and high-accuracy navigation applications, the NEO-M8L - the world's smallest standalone GNSS module - incorporates motion, direction and elevation sensors with a gyro and an accelerometer integrated into its leading GNSS platform u-blox M8 to create the highest- performance indoor/outdoor positioning solution available.

Image: First all-in-one GNSS module brings road vehicle systems to the next level of performance.

In addition to accessing the integrated module's gyro and accelerometer data, accident reconstruction systems can provide the location of an accident to facilitate insurance claims, even if a collision occurs in a tunnel or park house. High-end navigation devices are able to guide drivers through tunnels several kilometres long thanks to the unsurpassed accuracy of u-blox' ADR system. Stolen vehicles can be located instantly due to continuous monitoring of sensor data and storage of location in non-volatile memory.

"Devices for usage-based insurance, stolen vehicle recovery, road pricing, fleet management, emergency services, and vehicle navigation depend on reliable, uninterrupted positioning including tunnels, park houses and stacked highways," said Thomas Nigg, VP Product Strategy at u-blox. "The NEO-M8L is the ideal solution for all road vehicle- based applications, able to calculate a position in all circumstances based on its own internal sensors, regardless of satellite visibility and end-device orientation."

The extremely compact module, only 12.2 x 16.0 x 2.5 mm, requires minimum host integration, resulting in no risk, low cost, and fast time-to-market design. With uncritical orientation of the installed module, odometer function and autonomous data logging, it is the first all-in-one solution for all road vehicle applications requiring reliable and uninterrupted position in challenging environments such as urban canyons, tunnels and underground parking.

The NEO-M8L embeds u-blox' breakthrough "3D Automotive Dead Reckoning" (3D ADR) chip technology. Using the vehicle's speed information and the module's onboard sensors enables accurate positioning in three dimensions, even when satellite signals are completely lost and the end-device installation is not horizontal. An odometer function, based on the ADR technology, also provides accurate and continuous distance travelled.

The module is able to track all visible GNSS satellites including GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS and all SBAS (European's Galileo in future firmware version). Concurrent reception of two GNSS systems is supported. The module can output a position up to 20 times per second.

Commenting on the NEO-M8L, Tim Bonnett, Director and Chief Sales Officer, Alpha Micro Components, said, "This new module is well worth a look. It provides high sensitivity, fast GNSS signal acquisition and tracking with low system integration effort and its on-board 3D accelerometer, 3D gyroscope sensors and self-calibrating speed-pulse input (hardware or message-bus) deliver a complete solution for road vehicle ADR applications. First-fit navigation and after-market telematics installations are supported by straightforward one-time configuration for module orientation."

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Alpha Micro Components in profile 
Founded in 1995, Alpha Micro is a successful independent specialist franchised distributor of components for telematics and M2M.  It is one of the companies pioneering the concept of "design based" distribution, using its in-house software and hardware capabilities as a platform to sell its franchised components. Alpha Micro's design group offers a comprehensive technical support package ranging from application support, through to complete turnkey designs. The company services the machine to machine (M2M), telematics, medical, energy monitoring, security and automotive sectors with components from world leading manufacturers. The franchised line-up includes EnOcean, FTDI, GainSpan, Lantronix, Laird Technologies and u-blox. Alpha Micro has built an enviable reputation for product knowledge, customer service and innovation.

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