NextGen TV: BitPath, CAST.ERA and ONE Media Demo `Enhanced GPS'

ATSC 3.0
(Image credit: ATSC)

ARLINGTON, Va.,—In an important demonstration of some of the new services that NextGen TV can offer, BitPath, CAST.ERA and ONE Media have delivered “Enhanced GPS” broadcasts that could provide a major new tool for autonomous vehicle navigation and other applications. 

The demo broadcast of “Enhanced GPS” (eGPS) data using ATSC 3.0 showed it could deliver positional accuracy within a few centimeters. 

That kind of accuracy could be very important in a number of applications like autonomous vehicle navigation. 

Additionally, a drone incorporating eGPS and a 5G radio was used to show the potential of “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” observation and live imagery. This demo delivered a near real-time broadcast of gathered live images that could very useful for news, first responders and other applications. 

The demoes are important because traditional space-based global positioning systems are vulnerable to low power and environmentally induced inaccuracies. Using the high-power data transmission capacity of terrestrial broadcast stations, improved eGPS positioning can be broadcast to an unlimited number of vehicles inside of the range of a licensed broadcast television station. 

The companies involved also noted that enhanced GPS is one example of how ATSC 3.0 could usher in a new era of datacasting services from broadcasters. 

Testing of eGPS and aerial observation capabilities was orchestrated by CAST.ERA, the joint venture between Sinclair and SK Telecom from South Korea, in conjunction with Doosan and South Korean broadcaster, MBC. Using advanced drone technology combined with the NextGen broadcast-enabled eGPS, the demonstration permitted supervised autonomous drone takeoff, flights and landing at extraordinarily precise locations. 

Commenting on this important proof of concept, John Hane, president of BitPath, which is building a national broadcast data network, noted that “today’s demonstration shows one of many high value, low bandwidth applications for broadcast data. Location services are more important to the economy every day. Applications extend from all transportation sectors to energy distribution, smart cities, public safety, and cyber security. BitPath looks forward to working with our partners and other broadcasters to add new dimensions to broadcasters’ public interest services.”

Kevin Gage, CAST.ERA’s chief operating officer, added that “data services, cloud management of ATSC 3.0 services and ultra-low latency media encoding are just a few of the new technologies we plan to release this year. The eGPS project highlights each of these technologies over a hybrid ATSC 3.0-5G delivery network.”

One Media 3.0 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.