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Developing a Multicore GNSS Receiver on an FPGA

ACSER has designed and built a space-based satellite navigation receiver operating at two frequencies and processing signals from two systems: GPS and Galileo. However, there are other satellite navigation systems such as Glonass, Beidou, and QZSS which can be simultaneously processed by an integrated receiver.

Conventionally, processing a signal from a satellite requires a correlator specific to its system type. It therefore requires a new correlator architecture that can be flexibly configured to work with various navigation signals whereby a generic correlator can process a signal from any system type with minimal hardware resources.

A multicore correlator architecture – whereby each correlator will have its own small-footprint processor – is an emerging technology for multi GNSS receiver that has a high potential and has been relatively unexplored.

The project comprises of both practical and theoretical work, using ACSER’s Namuru V3.3 receiver research platform. There is a chance for the student to have a hands-on experience on multicore architecture design. The student will design a multi-processor architecture, explore various inter-core communication protocols, and develop a new custom-instruction-set specific to GNSS signal processing as well as its programming compiler companion.

ACSER’s team of research associates developed the Namuru V3.3 receiver hardware that is compatible with most navigation systems but has only managed to develop the firmware to process GPS and Galileo systems due to resource limitations resulting from the use of conventional correlator architectures.

Researchers and students are currently using this equipment to design satellite navigation receivers in funded projects for space applications, precise timing applications, and interference localization. The expected outcome is a new model and design of a flexible multicore GNSS receiver that will be implemented on the Namuru V3.3 board.

Promising publication opportunities will pursue if successful as such a resource-optimised design is revolutionary and has not been attempted by anyone else. This will not only be a demonstrable technology but also a technique that can be adapted by the industry. It will establish the first flexibly configurable multicore GNSS receiver in Australia.

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