Cambridge, UK: FocalPoint, the UK software company which provides next generation positioning solutions for mobiles, wearables and vehicles, has announced a strategic investment from GM Ventures, the venture capital arm of General Motors (NYSE: GM), and a collaboration with GM to explore the application of next generation GPS technologies to the automotive market.
FocalPoint’s SupercorrelationTM technology addresses the critical issue of GPS inaccuracies from current receivers in cities, bringing navigation positioning better in line with modern customer and business demands. The collaboration with GM will focus on possible application of the technology in future vehicles, including potential enhancements and expansion of its Super Cruise advanced hands-free driving assistance technology and its upcoming Ultra Cruise advanced driver assistance system in the coming years.
● Technology revolutionizes the accuracy and security of GPS and other global navigation satellite systems in dense urban areas
● Companies to collaborate on potential application of SupercorrelationTM in EVs and AVs
● Technology redefines the state of the art for safety and reliability of positioning
“FocalPoint’s Supercorrelation technology can make navigation and positioning more precise, especially in dense urban environments, which we believe can have significant benefits for the ongoing growth and capability of ADAS and AV systems,” said Scott Pomerantz, FocalPoint CEO. “We’re delighted to expand our advanced technology into the automotive sector with GM, a leader in advanced driver assistance systems.”
“We’re constantly researching technologies to support and enhance the growth and performance of our vehicles, both within our internal research and development operations and through collaborations with innovators beyond our company,” said Kent Helfrich, President, GM Ventures. “This collaboration with FocalPoint targets a specific aspect of the ongoing expansion of Super Cruise and Ultra Cruise going forward.”
FocalPoint was founded to address the critical issue of GPS inaccuracies of current receivers and bring navigation and positioning better in line with the demands of businesses and individuals in the 21st century.
This latest investment follows the announcement in September of a Series C funding round of £23m, led by Molten Ventures and Gresham House Ventures. FocalPoint has also secured funding from the European Space Agency’s NAVISP programme to develop a live demonstration and rapid prototyping system to accelerate FocalPoint’s activities in the automotive and mobile sector.
Having already licensed some of its technologies to u-blox (SWX:UBXN), the leading European manufacturer of wireless communication and positioning technologies, for use in their GNSS receivers, this collaboration signifies the first steps into the booming automotive market.
Currently, over a trillion dollars of the US economy and over 800 billion euros of the European economy depend on positioning and timing systems.
Solving the critical issue of GPS inaccuracy and spoofing FocalPoint’s groundbreaking SupercorrelationTM technology enables a new class of satellite positioning receiver that can measure the directions of the incoming signals, allowing them to ignore reflected signals and fake ‘spoofed’ signals, making them more accurate in cities and more resilient against spoofing attacks.
Spoofing is used by criminal networks, maritime pirates, and fraudsters to broadcast fake satellite signals and confuse the receiver. This is a critical threat to business and consumers, particularly as the criminals become more sophisticated and the cost of spoofing technology comes down.
FocalPoint’s unique technology can instantly detect fake signals as spoofers, ignore those signals, and pinpoint where in the physical environment the signal is coming from. It is the only consumer-grade product in the market capable of these unique performance characteristics.
“This is a major milestone for FocalPoint as we work with General Motors to explore the deployment of our technologies in EVs and AVs. Accurate positioning for autonomous cars and driver assistance platforms is an opportunity for the industry and we are proud to be providing a much-needed solution,” commented Ramsey Faragher, FocalPoint Founder, President and CTO.
In the last year, FocalPoint has almost doubled its headcount across its offices spanning the UK and US and brought in former Broadcom SVP Scott Pomerantz as its new Chief Executive Officer alongside other senior executives with deep experience in building and scaling technology firms.
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Notes for Editors
● Supercorrelation™ is a patented, chipset-level software product developed by FocalPoint for mobiles, wearables, and vehicles - increasing the positioning accuracy in urban environments by a factor of 10. It requires no extra hardware or infrastructure and is therefore a cost efficient and environmentally friendly option by reducing the requirement for high cost antennas and reducing power consumption.
● GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System - a blanket term to describe systems that include GPS, Galileo, BeiDou, Glonass.
● Developed and launched by the US military in the 1980s, GPS became fully operational in 1993.
● Other nations have launched similar systems: Russia’s GLONASS, China’s BeiDou and Europe’s Galileo, along with smaller regional services.
● 1.8bn GPS chipsets were shipped in 2019, this is expected to grow to 2.8bn by 2029, with the majority of growth coming from receivers for autonomy, road and drone (source).
● A US Government study in 2019 estimated the economic benefits of the US Global Positioning System at $1.4 trillion.
● GNSS technology touches almost every part of today’s interconnected world and economy. A 2017 US government study estimated that the loss of GPS service would average a $1 billion per-day impact to the nation (reference).
● Inaccurate satellite positioning in cities is caused by obscured, reflected and weak satellite signals due to surrounding buildings, resulting in positioning and timing errors on GPS and other GNSS-dependent devices.
● Recent coverage on GPS Spoofing and safety issues in WSJ, The Times, New York Times
FocalPoint develops technologies that redefine the positioning of any mobile device including Smartphones, wearables, and autonomous vehicles. Their mission is to improve the accuracy and reliability of every mobile device that touches the lives of almost every person on the planet.
FocalPoint was founded in 2015 by Dr. Ramsey Faragher. The team includes alumni from Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO), BAE Systems (LSE:BA), The European Space Agency, and the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, UCL and Imperial College. It has offices in the UK and the US where their research and technical teams are recognised by the UK Royal Institute of Navigation and the US Institute of Navigation for their pioneering innovations.
Its SupercorrelationTM technology is currently licensed to u-blox (SWX:UBXN) and is in advanced trials with several major device manufacturers. Investors include Molten Ventures, Gresham House, Passion Capital, IQ Capital, Cambridge Angels, Rockspring Nominees, Cambridge Innovation Capital, and DeepMind Founder Demis Hassabis.
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