September Special Edition 2021

Swift Navigation: Pushing the Boundaries of Positioning


"The company delivers safe and precise positioning to keep the autonomous vehicles of today—and the future—in their lane."

Since its founding in 2012, Swift has evolved from creating the industry’s first low-cost, high-accuracy, real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS receiver to delivering an ecosystem of GNSS positioning solutions for autonomous applications. Its determined founders first worked together while developing airborne wind turbines—large rigid-wing kites that generate electricity from stronger, more consistent high-altitude winds. To guide these airborne turbines, they needed a highly accurate GPS system. When nothing on the market met their performance and cost requirements, they developed a low-cost RTK system, and Swift Navigation took off.

The company delivers safe and precise positioning to keep the autonomous vehicles of today—and the future—in their lane. Swift Navigation continues to innovate with its ecosystem of precise positioning solutions for autonomous applications. They build on their foundation by offering a full suite of positioning solutions that are accurate, affordable and easily integrated while being reliable and secure for a variety of autonomous applications requiring precision positioning. The company truly values openness and participates in an open community, and when possible make its documentation, specifications, pricing and support available freely online. Swift products are designed and assembled in California, USA and benefit thousands of customers across the globe.

For Automotive Industry

Swift Navigation’s lane-level positioning production solution was designed for autonomy and built to scale for automotive. The company offers both a positioning engine and corrections service making it easy for OEMs to integrate precise positioning into future fleets. The receiver-agnostic Starling positioning engine easily integrates with the automotive sensor suite and pulls corrections from Skylark—across the contiguous U.S. and expanding across Europe—to deliver absolute positioning for safety-critical autonomous vehicle applications.

Starling is an advanced, high-precision positioning engine that works with a variety of GNSS chipsets and inertial sensors making it ideal for autonomous applications. Starling’s software is platform-independent and enhances the measurements for commercially available GNSS receivers to provide centimeter-accurate results with high integrity. Starling supports the calculation of precise position, velocity and time (PVT) and when combined with inertial sensor measurements, wheel odometry and other sensor inputs, Starling can assist with localization, decision and control. Swift designed its precise positioning production solution for OEM volume production. Starling is engineered to comply with the automotive industry functional-safety standard—according to ISO 26262 with ASIL B level—while Skylark supports NTRIP2 and SSR connections.

Skylark is a wide area, cloud-based GNSS corrections service that delivers real-time, high-precision positioning. Skylark uses cutting-edge positioning algorithms to provide a continuous stream of multi-constellation, multi-frequency GNSS corrections. This highly available service combines lane-level accuracy and world-class integrity at a continental scale. Skylark is hardware-agnostic, giving customers choice in today’s rapidly improving and affordable GNSS sensor ecosystem. OEMs are able to benefit from the lane-level positioning Skylark delivers using a host of third-party receivers and microprocessors. Skylark reduces convergence times by offering a nationwide precise positioning service delivering accurate corrections to the vehicle in real-time. While the Starling positioning engine processes these corrections by combining satellite data and error correction data with the vehicle sensors to generate final position, velocity and time.

Swift’s precise positioning strengthens the autonomous sensor suite by delivering more accurate positioning; improving a vehicle’s ability to operate safely and accurately within the landscape of its local environment—especially as it relates to issues other sensors face. Swift delivers localization at the degree of accuracy today's autonomous vehicle manufacturers demand.

Partnership with KDDI

Swift ​​Navigation​, a San Francisco-based tech firm redefining GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and precise positioning technology for autonomous vehicles, automotive, mobile and mass-market applications announced a partnership with Tokyo-based KDDI Corporation. KDDI is an international telecommunications company on the forefront of using technology innovations to provide a high-quality and high-reliability network that meets the communication needs of its global customers. This partnership will be key in bringing Swift’s precise positioning technology to the Japan market and adds KDDI as a key partner in the global expansion of Skylark precise positioning service—currently available across the continental U.S. and Europe in partnership with Deutsche Telekom.

Traditionally, precision GNSS corrections were provided using real-time kinematics (RTK) techniques, requiring a high density of reference stations and with limited fault tolerance. By partnering with Swift, KDDI is able to utilize Swift’s patented wide area corrections solution, a hybrid of precise point positioning (PPP) and RTK. The solution delivers wide area corrections with a low density of reference stations, fast convergence, centimeter-level accuracy, all from a highly-reliable service delivered seamlessly via the cloud.

The Leader Upfront

Timothy Harris, CEO and Co-founder

Timothy Harris, Co-founder and CEO of Swift Navigation, is focused on building a world-class organization that will power the next generation of GPS-enabled autonomous vehicles and robots. A proven leader in the high-accuracy GPS industry, Tim leads teams that are excited to drive innovation and challenge each other to achieve visionary change. Prior to Swift, he worked in supply chain consulting for OR Soft Jaenicke GmbH in Halle, Germany, and in corporate finance for Emerge Digital Group, where he oversaw M&A and strategic partnerships for a digital media holding company. Tim holds a JD degree from Boston University and a BA degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

"Since its founding in 2012, Swift has evolved from creating the industry’s first low-cost, high-accuracy, real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS receiver to delivering an ecosystem of GNSS positioning solutions for autonomous applications."