GPS receiver module meets automotive requirements

Paul Boughton

Vincotech is extending its portfolio of GPS receiver modules by introducing a variant that is designed and manufactured specifically to address requirements in the automotive industry. While in many areas of consumer electronics design the trend is towards further miniaturisation of devices, the key emphasis of product designs for the automotive industry is reliability and quality. In combination with the outstanding performance of a SiRFstarIII chipset, Vincotech addresses these requirements with its new A1088-A.
The automotive industry was certainly amongst the first users of GPS technology. Long before PNDs (personal navigation devices) became popular, GPS navigation systems could be found in many vehicles, most typically luxury cars. While devices for consumer applications need to be very compact, the automotive industry emphasises reliability and quality, long-term availability of products, and manufacturing characteristics that allow for 100 per cent visual inspection during assembly. All applications are further driven by the need for high GPS sensitivity along with low power consumption. Vincotech says that, for the first time, all of these requirements are met in its new A1088-A GPS receiver module sub-system.
A major feature of the A1088-A is the sole use of AEC-Q compliant components. AEC-Q stands for Automotive Electronic Council, a council founded by the automotive industry defining stringent standards for the qualification of electronic components. The reliability standard of the module is therefore guaranteed. Design and manufacturing of the A1088-A is carried out according to ISO/TS 16949. This standard, recognised and applied by automotive manufacturers, addresses system and process quality and is often used as the basis for quality audits. The consequent implementation of this standard is a testament to high production quality combined with backwards traceability. An important aspect is also the utilisation of 'mature' technologies. Of note, the SiRFstarIII GPS chip set is well established in many consumer and automotive applications. In combination with the proven and thoroughly tested navigation firmware that calculates and outputs the GPS data, the A1088-A module offers reliability and performance.
Vincotech's A1088-A is completely shielded. The shield itself carries a bar code containing all of the module's relevant data down to a unique serial number. The module is designed for use with active antennas, thus reaching an acquisition sensitivity of -145dBm. A good operating environment allows 'cold start' conditions to calculate a first position within less than 35s (TTFF – time to first fix). In tracking mode the sensitivity reduces to -159dBm. Here the current draw is typically only 32mA at 3.3V. The module features additional low-power modes where the current draw can be reduced to only 10uA. The A1088-A is specified for the complete industrial temperature range from -40 to +85 degrees C. The outer dimensions are 19 x 28mm with the solder pads on the rim of the module. A 100 per cent optical inspection can therefore be performed during assembly.
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