Taking Accuracy to mm Level
A recent innovation promises to make ultra-wideband (UWB) ranging even more precise, delivering accuracy down to the millimeter level in everyday conditions. NXP acquired the ability to locate other UWB-enabled items and devices to within a few millimeters from the German company LaterationXYZ. By opening up new possibilities for applications where precise location and tracking are critical, this new solution represents a significant milestone in the development of UWB technology.
Opening Up New Possibilities Where Precise Location and Tracking Are Critical
Enhancing the precision of real-time localization will improve the performance of existing applications, but will also open up opportunities for new use cases.
The gaming industry, for example, can deliver better experiences with more precise measurements between the console and the handheld controller or headset. In manufacturing, the handheld devices that workers currently use to locate and place individual parts will be able to deliver greater accuracy, leading to increased productivity, reduced waste and, ultimately, lower costs. Similarly, in logistics and warehousing, increased precision will make it easier to track and locate goods efficiently, leading to faster order fulfillment and increased customer satisfaction.
Beyond what’s being done today, UWB with millimeter-level accuracy has the potential to enable use cases that improve efficiency and enhance precision. Using millimeter-level accuracy has relevance to a wide range of industrial, commercial and consumer use cases, including tool placement, augmented reality, healthcare monitoring, personal tracking, inventory control and indoor location-awareness.
Extending the UWB Advantage
Present-day UWB technology, which offers accuracy to within a few centimeters, is already much more precise than other wireless technologies used for localization. Evolving UWB capability to deliver millimeter-accuracy only increases the advantage that UWB has over Wi-Fi and BLE when it comes to precise localization.
What’s more, because UWB operates in a different part of the spectrum, at a cleaner, higher band than Wi-Fi and BLE, it doesn’t interfere with the operation of other wireless protocols. Highly precise UWB localization can be added to existing wireless operating environments without introducing troublesome signal interference.
Another standout feature of UWB is its inherently high level of security. Where other technologies use signal strength (RSSI) to determine distance and location, UWB uses Time of Flight (ToF) calculations. This makes it much harder to modify UWB measurements, and makes the technology far less vulnerable to the types of relay attacks.
Investing in the Future of UWB
UWB’s unique combination of precision, compatibility and security is one of the reasons why NXP became an early ambassador of the technology. Now, by collaborating with LaterationXYZ to keep evolving the accuracy of UWB in everyday conditions, NXP is taking yet another step to push the boundaries of UWB.
Our Trimension portfolio of UWB solutions for localization and ranging is one of the broadest in the industry. We continue to drive the evolution of UWB technology by delivering new ideas, such as the first UWB solution to combine ranging and radar.
We believe UWB is only just beginning to show us what it can do. As we continue to work with customers and industry organizations to develop UWB-enabled experiences, we will bring new levels of precision, compatibility and security to a very wide range of use cases.