All-in-one antenna to deliver richer communications

Multi-purpose antenna will be installed in vehicles
Multi-purpose antenna will be installed in vehicles
4 June 2003

A new vehicle antenna system promises to enable manufacturers to combine telecommunications and navigation applications plus a host of multimedia services all on a single device.

The antenna will enable the use of PCs, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), embedded consoles and in-car displays as well as speaker systems. These devices will be able to receive broadband content such as digital audio, video as well as exchange large quantities of data. Rich media applications such as video-on-demand will also be possible.

The antenna will also provide the basis for navigation services. Receiving signals from positioning satellites such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Galileo and EGNOS will enable accurate navigation information on location. The device also provides for mobile telecommunications systems either in the form of satellite services or ground-based telecommunications networks.

The Swiss company Jast is developing what is termed a "flat multi-band" antenna that provides a platform for commercial communication services. The system is aimed primarily at navigation and communication systems for cars and boats, but the needs of both trains and aircraft will also be considered.

Jast, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) has completed the first phase of the project. This involved identifying what the antenna should be able to do and how it will be built bearing in mind the main commercial applications. Service providers, mobile satellite system developers and manufacturers as well as vehicle manufacturers could use the technology.

Satellite operator Worldspace is currently conducting trials of Jast's antenna solution in the rollout of its S-DAB (Satellite Digital Audio Broadcast) systems across Europe - several car manufacturers have already been contacted to develop the devices for aftermarket distribution.

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