SoftBank announced that it will provide a real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning service for enterprises in Japan, with a reported centimeter-level accuracy, from the end of November 2019. Ahead of the nationwide service launch, starting in July, SoftBank will partner with Yanmar Agribusiness Co., Kajima Corp., and SB Drive Corp. to conduct joint trials in phases to achieve commercialization in different industries.

The service uses signals received from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) such as QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) to conduct RTK positioning. SoftBank will use its nationwide base station locations employed for mobile communications to install more than 3300 unique control points that are necessary for RTK positioning.

More specifically, a Positioning Core System provided by ALES Corp. will generate correctional data based on signals received and transmitted by SoftBank’s own control points, and this correctional data will be sent to agricultural and construction machinery, self-driving cars, drones, and other equipment embedded with GNSS receivers (mobile stations) using SoftBank’s mobile communications network. The company says that by conducting RTK positioning using this correctional data and signals received by GNSS receivers, highly accurate centimeter-level positioning can be performed in real time. The correctional data generation and transmission of this information to GNSS receivers for this service will be conducted by ALES Corp., a company jointly established by SoftBank and Enabler Ltd.