Navigation Solutions


Autonomous systems are a key issue in the future of global mobility. With the latest assistance systems, innovations in sensor technology and environment recognition as well as the ongoing digital networking in everyday life, the vision of autonomously acting systems appears to be feasible.



Jan-Jöran Gehrt

Navigation Solutions Group Manager


+49 241 80 28032



Global Navigation Satellite Systems

A large part of these developments leads back to an increasing use of global navigation satellite systems, abbreviated GNSS, which is accompanied by a rapid diffusion of assistance systems and active safety systems into everyday processes. On the way towards fully autonomously acting systems, different levels of automation are recognised: assisted, partially automated, highly automated, fully automated and driverless.

These levels differ in the amount of human control interventions and control functions as well as in the amount of the systems’ automated interventions and security functions. With an increasing level of automation, human interactions decrease while system interventions increase. All levels share a common requirement of highly accurate positioning data. The more safety functions the system performs, the higher the importance of availability and integrity information of the processed data becomes.


The group Navigation Solutions is developing the basis for autonomously driving systems using satellite navigation. Apart from GPS, the European navigation system Galileo is explicitly used as well. The overall focus lays on an improvement of position, velocity and orientation calculation accuracy by sensor fusion and the integration of external data, which requires reliable and highly available data sources. Another aspect on the way to autonomous driving is the networking of vehicles among one another and their mutual exchange of information. Only by a network of all road users, an autonomous and safe traffic can be realized. Furthermore, the evaluation and integrity of data plays a key role for these applications in safety-critical fields, e.g. in open environments with mixed traffic. So, disturbing sources and system errors can be detected reliably and control systems can react appropriately.

Methodological approaches of the group Navigation Solutions :

  • GNSS-aided localization and navigation
  • Networked control systems
  • Sensor fusion

Test and Development Environments

For every research and development project, the transfer to the real test vehicles in their actual operational environment is an important step. RWTH Aachen University has access to two so-called Galileo test and development environments, also known as GATEs. These development centers enable reproducible test series for the evaluation of navigation systems with so-called pseudolites, which emulate Galileo signals:

  Test vehicles on the huge dynamic plane and in the steep curve in the ATC. Copyright: © IRT Autonomous test vehicle on the huge dynamic plane of the ATC with a steep curve in the background.
  • automotiveGATE
    for automobile applications is located in Aldenhoven and is part of the Aldenhoven Testing Center, ATC.
  A locomotive equipped devices passing a parked freight train. Copyright: © IRT Lokomotive view during an extensive measurement campaign.
  • railGATE
    for railway applications is situated in the area of the Siemens AG test and validation center, PCW, Wegberg-Wildenrath, where such validation tests for railway applications can be carried out.

    These validation tests are an important step during each research and development project, especially the technical system evaluation within real application environments.


Multicopters and Buggies

Flying quadrocopter of type Pelican Copyright: © IRT A flying quadrocopter of type Pelican. The Copter navigates by means of satellite signals.

The Navigation Solutions group uses a range of different test vehicles as research platforms.

Multicopters and testvehicles similar to automobiles, so-called buggies, are part of that range. For these vehicles, methods are developed to enable autonomous, safe flight, respectively networked, autonomous driving.

The research platforms are used in the following applications:

  Two mobile development platforms, called Buggieys, designed at the IRT. Copyright: © IRT Two mobile development platforms designed at Institute of Automatic Control, which are equipped with measurement devices and laptops. Both Buggies are coupled virtually to each other.


  • Automated camera multicopter
  • Automated inspection of large, difficult to access objects


  • Autonomously driving, coupled vehicles
  • Localization within a networked system

More Navigation Solutions group projects

Acronym Project title
FireflyMobile and Networked Positioning System for Aided Navigation in Urban Environments
TRIPLE-nanoAUV 1Development of a fully autonomous miniature submersible robot for the search for extraterrestrial life
GALILEOnautic 2Autonomous Navigation and Optimal Maneuvering of Cooperative Vessels within Harbors
VThVirtual testing hall for advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous driving
AMIIGOAutomatic, Multirotor-based Indoor Inspection of Large Surfaces
GALILEOnauticAutonomous Navigation and Optimal Maneuvering of Cooperative Vessels within Harbors
Galileo Online: GO!An integrated localization and communication receiver for railway applications coupled directly with central services