Ultra Wideband Products

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Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a short-range RF communication technology which enables indoor positioning using a real-time location system with centimeter accuracy. Its main benefits include low latency, robustness, high accuracy at high refresh rates and scalability – even in harsh environments.

In Industry 4.0, UWB is one of the fastest-growing technologies in Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS). Indeed, its reliability and its low sensitivity to potential interference with other wireless systems makes it ideal for industrial environments.

In automotive applications, UWB secures access to the car and enables new use cases.

UWB has gained wide public attention in recent months in the consumer sector as the top-ten smartphone vendors have all embedded the technology into their latest mobile phones. This wide adoption and the introduction of UWB in PC and smart-wearables from top OEMs paves the road to a myriad of location-aware applications.

Advantages of measuring distance using UWB technology

Unlike other technologies, UWB distance measuring is not about signal strength, but about measuring the time of flight (ToF) of a very short radio pulse between two radio transceivers. Radio pulses always travel at the same speed, the measurement is not affected by attenuations. ToF offers flexible implementation possibilities to cope with the needs of specific target applications. As it requires a high-level of synchronization, UWB systems use very precise chronometers at picosecond level and synchronized devices with the lowest drift.

Animated image showing configuration and use case examples of real-time locating systems based on Ultra-wideband

Multiple use cases for real-time location systems

Real-time distances and positions are precious data. They represent crucial information to improve efficiency and safety in many tasks. With applications in 1D measurements, 2D positioning or 3D positioning applications, Ultra-wideband has the potential to transform our daily activities in many fields: IoT, automotive, mobile communication, manufacturing, etc. It addresses applications such as asset tracking, autonomous indoor navigation and traffic management, access control for home, stores, buildings, cars, shared mobility, and any type of use case based on secure and accurate distance measurement or indoor-outdoor mapping.

UWB-capable anchors and tags make factories, buildings, and logistics facilities smart through precise tracking and geofencing. UWB allows a wide range of devices to understand their environment. Reliable positioning data acts as an enabler in contextual decision making for plenty of smart devices and systems: digital car key (DCK), Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV), drones, social distancing tags, etc.

UWB technology extends wireless connectivity solutions and makes the next generation of IoT become a reality.

To help unleash the potential of UWB technology in real-time positioning and location systems, designers can count on ST's strengthened STM32 microcontroller family and supporting development ecosystem.

STMicroelectronics actively participates with standardization consortiums as well as Ultra-wideband and precise real-time location system initiatives including FiRa, UWB Alliance and omlox.

Picture of two B-UWB-MEK1 boards – Ultra-wideband evaluation kit for 1D, 2D and 3D positioning, available as engineering sample