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Taking GPS out of the sky and into yours hands for fail-safe navigation

The most annoying thing about GPS technology is its reliance on satellites. Going through a tunnel, or travelling through heavy storms can render your expensive device completely useless.

But there’s a bid to bring location technology to the public that can work anywhere, anytime, in the form of a camera-based GPS.

It would be small and inexpensive, has the potential to deliver a fail-safe navigation system, and would not need the assistance of satellite technology.

Robotics researchers at Queensland University of Technology are developing what they claim is the first camera-based GPS device, which would use video images to recognise your location.

Vision of the roadway would be stored in the GPS memory, or could be downloaded, and converted into contrast patterns. The device would match up your location based on these sequences, as each contrast pattern is unique.

Check out this video for a better visual understanding.

Trials have shown the device can successfully work in both night and day, and in extreme weather conditions.

Leading researcher Dr Michael Milford and chief investigator at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Robotics Vision believes it’s the first of its kind.

“Our group is one of the world’s leading pioneers of developing camera-based navigation technology for robots and vehicles,” Dr Milford said.

“Current satellite-based systems don’t work at all underground in tunnels and often drop out in city areas around tall buildings.

“Camera-based GPS offers the potential to leverage extremely cheap mass produced cameras rather than more expensive lasers used on many existing platforms.”

The research was presented earlier this month at the 2014 Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation. If their plans to roll out the tech go ahead, you could soon say goodbye to costly GPS systems and say hello to something more dependable.

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