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Research finds GPS can be vastly improved with help from accelerometers, gyroscopes

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GPS stock
GPS stock

By now, the challenges facing consumer GPS devices are well documented. Our smartphones and dedicated in-car units can only come so close to our precise location, and that's leaving out moments when tall skyscrapers and other outside factors throw everything into disarray. For the most part, these challenges aren't crippling and we manage to get by just fine, but researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid think they've come up with a better way. They've concluded that GPS data alone isn't sufficient, but adding common sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes to the mix can improve results substantially.

Specifically, the group has found that their solution can hone in on your car's exact position at an accuracy between 1 to 2 meters (3.28 / 6.56 feet), markedly better than the 15 meters (49 feet) averaged by most consumer products in rural areas today. That means the experience would fare even better in congested urban settings. Unfortunately this new, combined approach to GPS isn't heading to your dashboard just yet, but researchers are hoping to develop a commercial option that would be viable and inexpensive for both consumers and auto manufacturers.