U-Blox module speeds compact asset tracking

  • June 28, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

The low-power MIA-M10 module from Swiss firm U-Blox can deliver long-lasting, dependable performance using a tiny antenna and battery, and speeds up the development of compact asset tracking.

This is the firm’s smallest GNSS module series to date. Built on its M10 GNSS platform, the module offers power efficiency for size-constrained battery-powered asset tracking devices. The module targets an expanding market for people, pets and livestock trackers, as well as industrial sensors and consumer goods.

Said to be roughly half the size of competing products, the 4.5 by 4.5mm form factor allows developers to design more attractive and comfortable products for consumer and industrial applications. The module offers low power consumption without compromising GNSS performance. Moreover, its power-save modes can double the battery life by balancing position accuracy and power consumption.

Like all the firm’s M10 modules, it concurrently receives four GNSS constellations – GPS, Galileo, Beidou and Glonass – for increased satellite signal availability. Combined with its RF sensitivity, the module offers robust positioning performance for products with small antennas as well as for devices operating in weak signal environments found, for example, in deep urban canyons.

Support for AssistNow assisted GNSS service, which delivers orbital data via the internet, cuts the time it takes the module to determine its initial position at start-up, allowing it to track satellites immediately without having to wait for slow satellite data downloads to complete. And applications requiring extra-long power autonomy can use the CloudLocate service, which extends the life of IoT applications by offloading power-hungry position calculation to the cloud.

The chip-sized, ready-to-use GNSS module requires no external components, reducing engineering and testing efforts, saving costs and resources, and speeding time to market.

The module is available in two variants. The MIA-M10Q targets a growing market of highly size-constrained battery-powered tracking devices. Its small size, low power demand and performance make it a natural fit for wearable devices used to keep an eye on the whereabouts and wellbeing of children, the elderly, and pets and livestock, as well as for dynamic applications such as small drones, cameras, bike computers and battery-powered sensors.

The second variant, the MIA-M10C, targets those requiring more flexibility to combine the module with an active or custom antenna circuit.

“MIA-M10 is the smallest GNSS module on the market, as small as a chip design, but with all the benefits of a module,” said Kevin Truempi, senior product manager at U-Blox. “Combining the exceptional sensitivity and short acquisition times of the ultra-low-power U-Blox M10 GNSS platform, the MIA-M10 series offers a highly attractive solution for power- and size-constrained end devices, in particular in the growing wearable tracking device market.”

With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, U-Blox has offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.