Affordable new RTK GPS, designed for Pixhawk/APM

This new Indiegogo project looks very good, and at $225 Reach is about a quarter of the price of other RTK GPSs. Backed!

What is Reach and what is it for?

Reach is for applications when your standard GPS with several meters accuracy just won’t cut it. It relies on RTK (real-time kinematics) technology to deliver centimeter level accuracy.

RTK was here for a long time, used mostly by surveyors and unaffordable to hobbyists and makers. If you needed centimeter precise positioning you had to spend thousands of dollars on an RTK system. With Reach we want to change that.

Reach runs open-source RTK processing software called RTKLIB written by Tomoji Takasu. Previously a computer was required to run RTKLIB, but now all RTKLIB features are available directly on Reach.

Antennas matter

High quality antennas are the key to great RTK performance. Tallysman Wireless, an industry leading company in high accuracy antennas provided their latest advanced antennas for the project. These antennas receive Glonass G1, Beidou B1, GPS L1 and Galileo E1 signals as well as signals from corrections services.

“The Emlid Reach program is an excellent example of the potential for huge reductions in cost available of precision RTK positioning systems. Tallysman’s Accutenna™ technology is a great match for the Reach product because it too provides high precision at new price levels.  Just as one wouldn’t expect a high quality image from an expensive TV receiver with a “rabbit ear” antenna, one should not expect the levels of precision the Reach product is capable of with a low precision antenna. Tallysman’s raison d’etre is production of high quality, high precision antennas at an affordable price for systems exactly such as the Emlid Reach product.”

Allen Crawford 

Director Marketing & Sales, Antennas and RF Products, Tallysman Wireless

Examples

Static mode

Kinematic mode

Possible applications

 

GPS replacement for your drone

We are experienced with APM autopilot and are working on integration with Pixhawk and other APM based autopilots. Reach can be powered from autopilot port and will send accurate coordinates using NMEA protocol.

Entry-level survey receiver

Participating in OpenStreetMap project? Planning your yard? Use Reach to survey points and mark them within the app.

Tracker for racing, cycling and other activities

Record your precise tracks and then export them in Google Earth format.

Your own RTK base station

Set your own base station on the roof of your home or club house and share corrections to others. One Reach unit set up as a base can provide corrections to a virtually unlimited number of rovers.

How does it work

To achieve centimeter level accuracy two GPS units are used with one of them being stationary (base) and another one moving (rover). Base unit streams correction to the rover over radio or 3G.

It’s simple - all you need is to setup Reach to receive corrections from a base station: 

1) Use a pair of Reach modules connected by radio modem, wi-fi or over the internet. One would act as a rover, while the other one would be your own base station.  

2) Or use WiFi to connect to your phone or plug 3G USB modem to receive corrections over the internet from an NTRIP base stations available in your area.  

Features

Multi-constellation

Reach is able to use not just GPS, but also Glonass, Beidou and QZSS which significantly increases amount of visible satellites resulting in a faster and better solution. Reach also uses signals from differential corrections systems SBAS, EGNOS, GAGAN. A future firmware upgrade will bring Galileo support as well.

IMU

Reach is equipped with a 9DOF inertial measurement unit that allows us to determine not only position, but orientation as well. By fusing IMU in RTK processing software phase tracking algorithms can be improved to work better.

App

We are developing an app called ReachView to make Reach user-friendly. Simply connect to device over Wi-Fi and you can tweak the setups, monitor solution status or view the satellite reception quality. Works on any desktop or mobile.

Connectivity

Reach is an internet of things device, it has a tiny yet very powerful Linux computer inside with Wi-Fi, BT and USB OTG port for cellular modems. You can even tether internet from your mobile device. That means that whatever setup you have it will be easy to stream corrections from the base to the rover.

Accurate time-mark

For high precision geo-tagging Reach is capable of capturing a time-mark with 21nS accuracy, you just need to connect it to a sync pulse source from your device. Time-marks are stored in memory and then can be used to determine position at a certain moment.  

External antenna

High quality antenna is the key to RTK performance. Depending on your application you might want to connect different antennas, lightweight one for airborne applications or a large, heavy one for the base station.

Specs


Raw data receiverU-blox NEO-M8T - 72 channels, output rate up to 18Hz, supports GPS/QZSS L1 C/A, GLONASS L10F, BeiDou B1, 

SBAS L1 C/A: WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS ,

 

Galileo-ready E1B/C

 
Processing unitIntel Edison - dual-core 500MHz
ConnectivityI2C, UART, GPIO, TimeStamp, OTG USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi GNSSAntenna connectorexternal with MCX connector 
Very compact: 25x35mm
Lightweight20gr
Antenna: Tallysman TW4721 Dual Feed GPS/BeiDou/Galileo/GLONASS

Risks and Challenges

Our team has years of experience in electronics development and production. We know every step needed to be taken from an idea to shipping ready to use devices. Maximum risk is a production \ shipment delay due to an unexpected lack of components stock. 
 
This is also not our first Indiegogo campaign. We have successfully delivered all perks for Navio campaign, launched second generation called Navio+ and delivered full software support. 
 
FAQ

How accurate the coordinates of Reach are?

If you have a base station with known coordinates and a good antenna, you can expect accuracy down to 2cm.

Is it 100% reliable? Will I always get cm coordinates?

No RTK receiver will provide fixed solution all the time. RTK requires good GPS reception, high quality antenna and low EMI. Bad weather conditions might also degrade solution quality.

Why is it so cheap?

We rely on open-source software and off-the-shelf electronic components. This lets us push the price so low.

What is the max range?

Recommended maximum range from the base station is 10km. 

How ready is it?

All RTK features work and hardware prototypes are fully tested. We are now developing an app to make configuration easier. 

What is the output format?

Solution is output in NMEA format, logging is done in Rinex.

Why does it say NEO-M8T in specs and on video it is NEO-6T?

That’s an early prototype shown in the video. All final boards will have NEO-M8T.

Views: 29522

Comment by Emlid on May 2, 2015 at 2:40pm

Chris, thank you for supporting us with Navio last year and now with Reach!

Comment by Nicholas Witham on May 2, 2015 at 8:51pm
How integrated is this with arducopter?
Is it as easy to setup as the regular 3dr GPS?
Will it be able to communicate via mavlink,or do we need to use 2 airborne telemetry modules like the piksi does ?
Comment by Emlid on May 3, 2015 at 9:57am

Nicholas, currently yes, it will require a separate radio just like Piksi. With Reach you can as well connect a 3G modem to get corrections from a local NTRIP caster. Deeper integration is something that is possible with existing hardware and will come with software updates.

Comment by Emlid on May 3, 2015 at 9:57am

Gary, sure! We expect to start shipping them in the end of July.

Comment by Daniel Perez on May 4, 2015 at 7:23pm

This is precisely what I have been looking for!

But I have to say with all honesty, and no intention of causing any bad feelings , this whole Indiegogo thing is something that is really alien to me. As the consumer, how are we protected? This is one of the reasons I could never be a professional gambler :) I need a little more certainty in my life!

I do see that the funding goal was met however. That was a great response. Does that mean that someone sitting on the fence like myself will still be able to participate once you are closer to your shipping date?

Also what about your production method allows you to produce this package for so little compared to the Piksi setup?

Keep up the good work! Looking forward to hear from the Emlid staff or any users that could shed some light on this.

Comment by Emlid on May 5, 2015 at 2:48am

Daniel, you concerns are completely understandable! Indiegogo itself does not provide any guarantee, but take a look at our record, last year we have successfully funded Navio - Raspberry Pi autopilot. We have since delivered all perks, developed an improved version Navio+ and provided full software support. 

You are very welcome to participate in the campaign on any stage, but those coming earlier might get their units faster :)

Reach relies on open-source RTK processing engine RTKLIB, which runs under Linux. Using off-the-shelf parts and open-source software we are able to deliver more features at a lower price.

Come and check out our website emlid.com and community forums community.emlid.com to see what we are :)

Best regards,

Igor

Comment by Daniel Perez on May 6, 2015 at 7:22am

Okay you have won my support. I have just sent my support payment and hope to see wonderful things from you guys over the next couple of weeks. Please post videos of your integration progress with APM & Pixhawk platforms as you make progress.

Thanks!

Comment by Dave Martin on May 13, 2015 at 8:12am

Igor,

 I’m very interested in the “Reach” RTK GPS for our UAV platform (Pixhawk controlled) we’re using/developing for archaeological photogrammetry.  Could you advise on a couple of points please:

 1)        How/where is the RINEX stored?

 2)        With our existing terrestrial RTK kit, on the base we can collect an autonomous position for say 10-20 minutes and then use that for the nominal base location, and then collect RINEX at the base station during the survey, and on return home post-process the base’s RINEX and then use that to adjust all co-ordinates acquired by the rover.


Can we do the same with the “Reach” base station?

(and in case you’re wondering, the reason we’re looking to consider “Reach” for base as well as UAV rover, is that although our Ashtech kit is dual-frequency L1/L2, it is older GPS-only so no Glonass, Galileo etc.).

3)      Can the rover log RINEX at the same time it is emitting the NMEA sentences to the Pixhawk?

 

4)      How and where are the time-mark (in our case, camera shutter) events logged? And can “Reach” log a position at that same instant?

 

5)      The packages on Indiegogo specify two Tallysman TW4721 mag-mount antennae will be supplied. Mag mount would be OK for putting on a ground plane for the base, but wouldn’t want to put anything with a strong magnet in on the UAV – are you able to offer a non-mag-mount antenna for the rover?

 

6)      For UAV we change the battery possibly a number of times during one survey ‘mission’. We don’t particularly want to have to fly another extra battery just to power the “Reach” – but equally we definitely don’t want to have to wait for integer ambiguities to be resolved again every time we change the UAV battery.  I see there’s a “hot-start” super-cap but is that enough to keep the full solution running? Presumably we’d have to keep the RTCM link receiver powered as well …. Are we just looking at an external power management to cover ‘brown out’ whilst changing flight battery?   Do you have anything special planned to cover this situation?

 

7)      If the Pixhawk is reset (on the ground!) whilst we are trying to keep the RTK solution live, will a Pixhawk restart cause the Reach to reset or re-initialise the solution from scratch?

 

Thanks in advance / Dave

Comment by NiMA Asghari on June 13, 2015 at 7:50am

Wow, it's half the price of SwiftNav Piksi && it's Open Source && most importantly it WORKS! unlike Piksi after 1+ yrs of delayed support for the most common FMU. 

Comment by Emlid on June 14, 2015 at 8:02pm

@ Dave Martin

Thank you for pointing us here.

1) In the emmc memory, possible to download over USB, network or ReachView app. 

2) Yes you can, but your rover position will be only as precise as base nominal location.

3) Yes.

4) They will be logged in the separate file at the moment, but we will implement Rinex event logging in RTKLIB. 

5) We are getting TW4721 custom made for our backer, they will come with adhesive mount instead of magnet.

6) Currently there is no solution to this except for a separate power source, but this is a very good point, we will see what is possible to do here.

7) PIxhawk restart will not cause solution reinitialization. 

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