What is it?
The VBOX Indoor Positioning System (VIPS) by RACELOGIC is a highly accurate way of measuring speed, position and attitude (pitch/roll/yaw) in areas where GPS is not available.
How does it work?
A number of fixed UWB beacons are placed around the indoor test area (minimum 6), in known positions which have been manually surveyed using a handheld laser or Total Station (if time is of the essence, a self-survey can also be performed). The beacons are completely stand-alone, and can be battery powered, making the deployment very rapid.
A UWB receiver on the vehicle continuously communicates with the beacons and triangulates its position indoors. This data is combined with the measurements from a highly accurate inertial measurement system, providing a real-time 3D position and attitude measurement at 100 Hz, to within 2 cm. All measurements are made on the target vehicle in real-time.
What is remarkable, is that VIPS can achieve re-acquisition and full accuracy in less than 0.2 of a second, which is considerably faster than GPS!
What is the intended application?
The system is designed for high dynamic vehicle test and validation procedures which are normally performed outside using GPS. Examples include acceleration, braking, handling, crash testing, tyre testing and ADAS sensor validation.
The system can also be used to fill in gaps in GPS coverage in areas such as heavy tree cover, tunnels and urban canyons.
Image above: Indoor testing of tyres on ice
How do we get such high accuracy?
Over the 5 years it has taken to develop VIPS (VBOX Indoor Positioning System), we have built our own custom hardware, software and calibration routines which has resulted in an industry leading accuracy of less than 2 cm. We temperature calibrate the beacons to ensure accuracy in all conditions, and we have developed our own antennas which are specifically designed to work on a vehicle. The custom antenna design significantly enhances the repeatability of the measurements. To take into account the high dynamic environment of vehicle testing, we have developed our own UWB algorithms, and this has allowed us to take individual measurements at up to 1000 Hz, reducing noise and dynamic errors in the measurements.
The video above (no audio) demonstrates the industry leading accuracy that we have been able to achieve with VIPS, as we verify the distance between the vehicle and a static point using both VIPS and a tape measure.