Atmel Unveils GPS Chipset with Firmware 3.0 to Improve Navigation

3/10/2004 - Atmel® Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) announced that its GPS chip set is now equipped with the new ROM version 3.0, which provides improved navigation accuracy and integrity, as well as higher sensitivity. All new customers will receive the GPS chip set with the new ROM version without additional cost, current customers using Atmel's chip set with Flash memory will receive an update for free.

Thanks to the new ROM version 3.0, Atmel's GPS chipset is now capable of receiving SBAS (Satellite Based Augmentation Systems) signals from multiple geostationary satellites such as WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) in the USA or EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigational Overlay System) in Europe simultaneously. These geostationary satellites provide correction information like ionosphere activity and generate ranging signals like GPS satellites. Moreover, they are able to verify the integrity of GPS signals. The GPS receiver can use this additional information to improve navigation accuracy significantly. Compared with most competitive products having only 12 channels, Atmel's GPS receiver can easily receive and handle the additional satellite information thanks to its 16-channel architecture.

In contrast to conventional GPS solutions, where higher sensitivity comes along with increased current consumption or worse positioning accuracy, Atmel's new ROM3.0 firmware provides significantly higher sensitivity without any compromises. The GPS receiver is able to track signals of up to -150 dBm, allowing navigation even in difficult environments like urban canyons and under dense foliage, and also enables applications with concealed antennas. In addition, enhancements in the navigation software detect and eliminate multipath effects in urban environment and improve overall navigation accuracy, especially under dynamic conditions (e.g. when driving fast, which makes correct positioning very difficult).

Atmel's innovative GPS chip set, consisting of the RF receiver IC ATR0600, the LNA ATR0610 and the baseband IC ATR0620, is industry's best performing GPS product. With its 16-channel architecture and 8192 time/frequency search taps, the chip set enables ultra-fast time-to-first-fix figures, higher sensitivity and faster position tracking. The power consumption is 100 mW at 1 position fix per second, allowing extended operating time.

"The new firmware provides high-end navigation performance without any additional cost to our customers", summarized Marcus Boehringer, Atmel's Product Manager for GPS. "All current customer applications using Atmel's GPS chipset and connected Flash memory can be easily upgraded to the new software version 3.0. The firmware release 3.0 will be integrated on all chipsets delivered by Atmel. Since the new software is fully compatible to the existing reference design, there is no need to do any changes on existing applications."

Samples of the GPS chip set (receiver IC ATR0600 in QFN28 package measuring only 5 x 5 mm; baseband IC ATR0620 in a 9 x 9 mm 100-pin BGA package; and LNA IC ATR0610 in a very small 1.6 mm x 2.0 mm PLLP6 package) are available now. Various support packages comprising extensive documentation and a highly sophisticated low-power reference design are also available.

About Atmel
Founded in 1984, Atmel Corporation is headquartered in San Jose, California with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions using CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies.

Atmel® and combinations thereof are the registered trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

Atmel's GPS ICs ATR0600, ATR0620 and ATR0610 product information may be retrieved at:

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