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What's the Right Path for Indoor Satnav?


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Indoor satnav

Nokia's indoor tracking system on a Nokia N8 smartphone.

Nokia Research Centre

Tracking down one of the last few parking spots in the cramped confines of a dimly lit multi-storey car park is not among life's pleasures. German car maker BMW thinks it has the answer: an indoor positioning system (IPS) that guides drivers to that precious parking spot and later helps them find their car again—through smart use of the car's anti-roll inertial sensors and a mapping app on a cellphone.

BMW's was one of many ideas unveiled at last week's Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation (IPIN) conference in Zurich, Switzerland, a gathering of engineers hoping to mimic the runaway success of satnav technology—but this time indoors.

IPS proponents want to pepper public buildings with wireless transmitters to help people locate their departure gate at an airport, say, or a particular store in a vast mall, or an exhibit in a labyrinthine museum. IPS will also be able to track moving targets, letting us locate friends in a multi-storey building regardless of what floor they are on.

From New Scientist
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