Iridium makes strategic investment in DDK Positioning

Source: press release, 24 May 2021

illustration: Iridium Communications Inc.
illustration: Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium Communications Inc. has announced that it has made a strategic investment in DDK Positioning (DDK), an Aberdeen, Scotland based provider of enhanced Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) accuracy solutions. DDK uses the Iridium® network to provide global precision positioning services that can augment GNSS constellations, including GPS and Galileo, to significantly enhance their accuracy for critical industrial applications. DDK is also developing similar services for other GNSS constellations, such as GLONASS and Beidou. Terms of the investment are not being disclosed.

Standard positioning accuracy through a system like GPS is typically within 10 metres; however, by using the Iridium network, DDK’s enhanced GPS accuracy service brings incredibly precise positioning of five centimetres or less. This advanced level of accuracy is ideal for autonomous vehicles like UAVs, precision agriculture applications, offshore infrastructure projects such as windfarm construction, automotive applications like driverless cars, as well as a host of construction, mining, surveying and IoT use cases. Historically, there have been limited geostationary satellite provider options for this type of service, but they suffer from line-of-sight blockage issues and coverage limitations in and around Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Kevin Gaffney, CEO of DDK Positioning, says, “We are delighted to have embarked on this journey with such a strong and well-respected company as Iridium. This partnership is a perfect fit for DDK Positioning, with Iridium’s satellite communications network and our GNSS solution, we are in a position to deliver a truly unique service which is robust, resilient and secure.” Gaffney continued that, “The investment made by Iridium will also allow us to grow the company even further whilst expanding our service offering globally.”

According to a report published by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, augmentation services like those offered by DDK will account for USD 76.5 billion (EUR 65 billion) in global GNSS market revenue by 2029, while the global GNSS downstream market, including services delivered and hardware devices, is estimated to reach USD 382 billion (EUR 325 billion).

“We are impressed with the team that DDK has put together and see great potential for this technology and how it takes advantage of the Iridium network,” says Iridium CEO, Matt Desch. “DDK’s enhanced positioning is a unique capability that adds a high-value solution on top of our existing portfolio of custom network services. Solutions from Iridium and DDK partners that are focused on precision agriculture, autonomous systems, maritime and infrastructure projects can now experience incredibly precise GNSS accuracy from anywhere on the planet.”