Furuno GPS was the first receiver I met in my job as a navigating officer on merchant ships.
I had undeservedly forgotten to mention one of the marine electronic manufacturer giants as Furuno Electric Co. Furuno is a Japanese company established in 1951. Main products are marine radars, GPS, fishfinders and other marine electronics.
It was in the beginnings of 90ies of last century. GPS makes it easier to work for ocean-going vessel’s navigators. You were able to refuse to use a sextant and other celestial navigation tools that were quite inaccurate and time-consuming method to obtain a ship’s geographical coordinates.
Honestly, it was another Satellite navigation system before Global Positioning System (GPS) named NAVSTAR which in its accuracy was far from a GPS. For a coastal navigation, DECCA and LORAN radio navigation systems were good enough when properly used.
In those years still US military did not allow high accuracy for civil GPS users as this system in early stage was intended mainly for defense and army. But anyway GPS was very useful in high seas.
Today on navigation bridge is difficult to find any equipment which somehow is not connected with GPS receivers, like AIS, GMDSS, ECDIS, autopilot and others.
As I mentioned before, my first ever met GPS receiver was Furuno. Every hour, or other period depending on navigation hazards around the ship, the navigation officer read latitude and longitude and plot a ship position on the nautical chart.
Today ships almost do not use paper nautical charts and instead of different electronic chart systems are the main ocean routes guide. It is something like so familiar for us GPS for car with indicated safe recommended sea routes or even restricted navigating channel where maximum ships draught is printed for safe sailing. After compulsory AIS (automatic identification system) use for all SOLAS ships, we can see all vessels around us and make a VHF call in case of necessity like mutual agreement in doubtful navigation situations.
Furuno is the huge company and for those who interested in its business can get it online.
To fit the theme, I would like to take a look on the field of satellite navigation. What actually company offer today for customers and which is not to other producers.
As stated in company home page furuno.com
„FURUNO GNSS/GPS Chips and GNSS/GPS Modules support Positioning and Timing solutions enabled to receive signals of almost all GNSS Systems available. We also support Dead Reckoning (DR), High Positioning Rate (e.g. 10Hz) for positioning. For timing solutions, our products are also capable of 1PPS output as well as Clock output functionality(configurable to, e.g. 10MHz) and data output in NMEA or M12 (Motorola) Binary protocol.“
For many readers above mentioned does not make any sense. To be closer and more understandable for anyone just one short product overview.
Multi-GNSS Receiver Chip eRideOPUS 7 Model ePV7010B.
Such type of chips is the brain or heart of any Sat Nav receiver device.
· Multi-GNSS, Concurrent reception of GPS and GLONASS
• The best positioning accuracy and smoothest ground tracking
• Improved of robustness thanks to concurrent reception of GPS and GLONASS signals
• Supports concurrent GPS, GLONASS, SBAS and QZSS
· Receivable Galileo E1B/E1C
Galileo E1B and E1C signals receivable (ref. “Galileo OS SIS ICD Issue 1 Revision 1 September 2010”)
Position available even in the tunnels, underground parking lots. Effective in urban canyons.
• Reduces degradation of position accuracy in harsh environments thanks to a combination of concurrent Multi-GNSS and Dead-Reckoning
• Provides instant position at startup in underground parking lot type environments (Garage Start function)
• Dead Reckoning positioning accuracy can be improved with feedback from the navigation application (Map Matching Feedback function)
Emphasis on usability of Dead Reckoning, no need for sensor processing on host CPU
・Selectable from 3 different sensor configurations depending on customer’s product concept
1. 3-Aixs Gyro Sensor + 3-Aixs Accelerometer + Speed Pulse
2. 1-Aixs Gyro Sensor + 3-Aixs Accelerometer + Speed Pulse
3. 1-Aixs Gyro Sensor + Speed Pulse
・Autonomous, self-calibrating, tightly coupled Dead-Reckoning.
・Dead Reckoning calculation is performed on the receiver and the results outputted in NMEA data
· Fast TTFF
Hot start: <1 sec
· High Positioning Rate
Configurable position output update rate up to 10Hz (10 times per sec.)
· Improved Noise Tolerance
Reduces effects of internal and external noise
・Advanced Multipath Mitigation
· Time Pulse Output
• Suitable for system synchronization with low jitter clock in addition to high accuracy time pulse
• PPS output synchronized to UTC time
• Clock output coherent with time pulse (e.g. 10MHz)
· Android™ driver and API
Furuno can provide Android driver and API, which can be used with Furuno’s GNSS chip/module for Android application developers.
Android driver may help to reduce the development cost to install the GNSS chip/module in the navigation devices or the automotive devices based on Android.
for more details, click here
· Embedded Flash ROM
Suitable for long-term use backed by FURUNO’s continuous support and function enhancement
…where the direct satellite signal is obscured by obstacles like tunnels, mines
In other words, this chip could be used for almost every area where high location accuracy is essential.
It operates even in dead reckoning mode which means in the area where the direct satellite signal is obscured by obstacles like tunnels, mines and even under water in some cases.
It could be used in drones and quadcopter as very low energy consuming and lightweight multi-GNSS receiver chip.
Before completing this post and not to be left readers without any Furuno GPS model, here is one of the latest State of the Art product.
Furuno FUR-MFDBB NavNet-3D Black Box Processor with Inputs From GPS Antenna, Radar, Sounder Module, and Weather Receivers.
Yes, it could be ordered in Amazon.com and from Furunousa.com for $ 9,795.00. Why is so big difference I do not know, obviously it is some additional features or so.
I am not going to make my explanation of this device, Amazon.com Product description did it in the best way.
„Furuno’s NavNet 3D is a groundbreaking new navigation system that breathes new life into the user interface. Once you start using NavNet 3D, you will be amazed at how a system so powerful can be so simple to use. NavNet 3D comes fully loaded with groundbreaking new features that will expand your navigational horizons. NavNet 3D uses a cutting-edge technology we’ve named “Time Zero.” Time Zero facilitates instant chart redraw, allowing for zooming in and out, changing chart display modes and other chart handling functions seamlessly and with no lag at all. Time Zero brings you a truly seamless navigation environment you have to experience to believe. NavNet 3D incorporates a whole new dimension into chart presentation with Full Time 3D chart rendering. You can choose a 2D top-down view of the navigation chart for a look and feel that duplicates a traditional chart plotting presentation. Or, you can choose to pan and zoom the chart to any angle at any range scale you choose instantly. There is no ‘3D mode’ to change into and no waiting at all, because NavNet 3D operates in this 3D environment full time. This variety of chart presentations helps to improve your situational awareness by giving you unprecedented control over your charting environment. Features include preloaded NOAA Raster charts for the entire US coastline, 12,000 trackpoints, 2,000 waypoints, 200 routes, optional radar antennas from 2.2KW to 25KW, optional depth sounder modules, optional Sirius weather, tides and currents, optional engine monitoring, built-in radar plotter, optional AIS, video inputs and output, optional weatherfax/Navtex, and much more.“
In conclusion, I would like to add that FURUNO GPS and other marine electronics are durable and with a long stable position on the market brand name. For professionals one of the top in the industry.