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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Next-Generation Vehicle Positioning in Global Positioning System-Degraded Environments for Vehicle Safety and Automation Systems

Project Information

Project ID:
Project Abstract:

The next generation of safety and vehicle automation will rely on precise positioning, yet GPS-based positioning is hampered by blockages of the global positioning system (GPS) signal—a broader approach is needed that does not rely exclusively on GPS. However, there is no one "silver bullet"; therefore, this proposed work seeks to achieve a major improvement in vehicle positioning performance by developing a multifaceted approach to achieving precise positioning, even in situations in which the GPS signal is inadequate due to a dense tree canopy, building shadowing, or other factors. The work builds on previous work done by the partners in other domains to apply these techniques to future safety and automation applications.

Three key technology areas hold promise individually, and the research intends to show that a combined, integrated system is even more powerful by exploiting the strengths of each technique. First, terrain-based localization (based on precise measurements of vehicle pitch and roll, combined with wheel odometry) can be readily used to find the vehicle's absolute longitudinal position within a premapped highway segment, compensating for drift, which occurs in dead-reckoning systems in long longitudinal stretches of road. Second, visual odometry keys upon visual landmarks at a detailed level to correlate position to a (visually) premapped road segment to find vehicle position along the roadway. Both of these preceding techniques rely on foreknowledge of road features; in essence, a feature-enhanced version of a digital map.

This becomes feasible in the "connected vehicle" fixture, in which tomorrow's vehicles have access to quantities of data orders of magnitude greater than today's cars, as well as the ability to share data at high data rates. The third technology approach relies on radio frequency ranging based on dedicated short range xommunications (DSRC) radio technology. In addition to pure radio frequency ranging with no GPS signals, information from radio frequency ranging can be combined with GPS-range measurements (which may be inadequate on their own) to generate a useful position.

Research HUB ID:
Project Status:
Project Funding Amount (Contract Award Amount):
Start Date:
End Date:
Public Access Plan:
FHWA Program Area:
  • Exploratory Advanced Research
Fiscal Year / AMRP Program / AMRP Activity:
  • FY 2002-2022 / Exploratory Advanced Research
Project Outputs:

New algorithms and ways of handling global positioning system (GPS) data were discovered.

AMRP = Annual Modal Research Plan

Contact Information

Operations Research and Development Technical Direction
Office of Safety and Operations Research and Development
Office Code:

Management Organizations

Sponsor Organization

Organization Role:
Sponsor Organization
Federal Highway Administration: Office of Research, Development and Technology - Office of Safety and Operations Research and Development
Contact Role:
Project Lead

Managing Organization

Organization Role:
Project Managing Organization
Federal Highway Administration: Office of Research, Development and Technology - Office of Safety and Operations Research and Development
Contact Role:
Project Contact

Performing Organization

Organization Role:
Performing Organization
University of California, Riverside

Partners and Other Sponsor/Managing/Performing Organizations

Organization Role:
U.S. Department of Transportation: Office of the Secretary of Research