New 3D ADR Tech Enhances City Driving


In an “always-on” world where consumers have access to data 24/7, we tend to have little patience when devices and solutions don’t perform as expected. Even if there are formidable challenges to overcome before a device can work reliably, the customer doesn’t tend to care—if it works it works, and if it doesn’t work, it’s a big problem.
One common issue in city environments is when a wireless device’s view of a satellite becomes obstructed due to urban development such as buildings, tunnels, stacked highways, and parking garages. Even though the challenge is real, drivers who are using GPS-enabled navigation systems, for instance, depend on their devices to work at all times.

A new technological development from Switzerland-based u-blox,, a provider of positioning modules and chips, aims to address the issue. The company recently introduced 3D ADR (Automotive Dead Reckoning) technology, which is integrated into its u-blox UBX-M8030-Kx-DR chip. 3D ADR technology allows the chip to calculate a vehicle’s position, speed, and other data, even when there is little to no satellite visibility.

u-blox says the technology will enhance connected automotive applications such as in-dash navigation, eCall, UBI (usage-based insurance), and stolen vehicle recovery systems, among others. 3D ADR is unique in that it’s capable of showing a vehicle’s movement in three dimensions without GNSS (global navigation satellite system) signals.

To do this, it “blends” available GNSS data with other telematics data, such as individual wheel speed, gyroscope, and accelerometer information. According to u-blox, this medley of data sources allows the system to maintain positioning even without satellite signals.

Because drivers expect their connected in-vehicle systems to work everywhere, not to mention quickly and accurately, the burden of innovation is on technology providers to find solutions to real-world problems that interfere with wireless devices’ reliability. If they do, their efforts will be rewarded in the form of mass adoption and customer satisfaction.

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