In the IoT era, where autonomous vehicles, drones, robots and other mobile systems will always be connected to the Internet, highly precise positioning technologies will be indispensable.
“ichimill,” an IoT service from SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) that enables highly accurate positioning with a margin of error of only a few centimeters, was developed to meet the positioning needs of industrial sectors in Japan. Centimeter-level location accuracy represents a major advance in magnitude over existing services – by comparison, widely used GPS-enabled smartphones are typically accurate within several meters.
What's behind ichimill's high level of precision? The technology is enabled by signals received from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) "MICHIBIKI," to perform Real Time Kinematic (RTK), a positioning method that uses fixed stations and mobile stations to send and receive signals.
Utilizing its existing mobile base station locations, SoftBank's ichimill has a network of over 3,300 unique control points across Japan. To achieve centimeter-level positioning, an intermediary positioning core system generates correctional data based on GNSS signals received and transmitted by the unique control points, and this correctional data is sent to high-precision GNSS receivers in agricultural machinery, drones, vehicles, and other equipment via SoftBank's mobile network.
Companies in Japan are already adopting or incorporating ichimill to digitally transform their businesses. Hitachi Construction Machinery, Co., Ltd. is using ichimill for the advanced version of its “Solution Linkage® Survey” solution that enables construction site management with smartphones. Futaba Corporation is collaborating with SoftBank to develop industrial drones that use ichimill to inspect bridges and towers. Furthermore, Agri Info Design, Ltd. is using ichimill on a trial basis with its “AgriBus -NAVI” app that guides tractors with high levels of accuracy.
SoftBank will continue to promote the digital transformation of various industries with ichimill.
ichimill use cases
(Posted on August 25, 2021)
by SoftBank News Editors