For the most part, GPS works great. It gives people the ability to get from point A to point B with a simple press of a button on a smartphone. That’s until you hit a big city.
Tall buildings and satellite signals don’t like each other and in an era where companies like Uber and Yelp depend on accurate navigation, Pete Tenereillo of California start up Pathsense has this to say.
“GPS sucks. First off it sucks in accuracy especially in major metros where these transportation apps and delivery apps are thriving and, you know, satellite signals bounce all over the place,” he said.
GPS also literally suck, quickly draining the battery life of a phone as its processors work overtime to triangulate real time satellite data.
Tenereillo and his team have developed a technology that he says tackles both of these issues. Instead of using satellites, Pathsense has written code that turns your phone into a navigation device similar to what’s found on a submarine.
“We are using inertial navigation, so we are using things like the gyro, magnetometer and accelerometer and other sensors and these are things that are able to run even when the CPU on the phone is not on,” Tenereillo said.
Without the CPU running, the phone uses 90 per cent less battery than GPS, giving people the ability to run location services on multiple apps like Facebook and Twitter and a dozen others at the same time without draining battery.
Ironically, thanks to satellite data, an accurate map of planet Earth now exists. Pathsense utilises those maps and uses the phones sensors to take the satellites out of the equation.
“So we know a map of San Francisco or a map of Arizona or Abu Dhabi. We can know a map of the inside of a Wall Mart and that is how we combine the sensor data with the things that we know about the world and we can continually correct,” he said.
There are more than 500,000 apps that utilise location services between Apple and Android, a potentially huge market for the start up. The company has already raised $US2 million USD in funding and Tanereillo is confident his company is heading – in the right direction.
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