Apple Acquired High Precision GPS Start-up Coherent Navigation



Apple has acquired Coherent Navigation, a start-up specializing in high precision GPS, according to various media reports this week, confirmed by Apple.

Based in San Mateo, California, Coherent Navigation was formed in 2008 by William Bencze and Brent Ledvina and gathered a small team of engineers from Stanford and Cornell universities. In 2013 Paul Lego, formerly CEO of Dash Navigation (sold to RIM) joined Coherent Navigation as CEO.

The first work of the company (in 2008-2010) was a contribution to a $150 million research project called iGPS funded by the U.S. government and led by Boeing. iGPS is using low orbit iridium satellites to ensure high integrity of GPS signal (anti jamming, anti spoofing).

Coherent Navigation was more recently developing a commercial high-precision navigation service, again leveraging the Iridium satellite network. This type of service usually targets agriculture, surveying, construction, mining, and oil and gas exploration markets.

With this acquisition Apple could further improve its core location API that already relies on several technologies: assisted-GPS, cell-ID and Wi-Fi triangulation for outdoor location.

Improved precision in smartphone location will likely unlock new markets, for example lane location and lane guidance in turn-by-turn navigation. But like many acquisitions of technologies made by Apple this might not come to the market anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 19th 2015


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