Case studies

RTK GNSS technology brings high precision to drone navigation

As the deployment of drones broadens to take on remote tasks that are otherwise considered too dirty, dull, or dangerous for manual in-person activity, the accuracy of their position is imperative for ensuring safe flights. 

large drone on field

The widespread adoption of commercial drones to perform dangerous or laborious tasks is a rapidly developing multi-billion-dollar global market. CubePilot provides industry-leading autopilot solutions to some of the largest commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) companies in the world, and as such needs to ensure that its solution is robust, secure, accurate, and cost-effective. Within its range of products, CubePilot exclusively selects u-blox modules to provide communication, tracking, and precise positioning with RTK GNSS.  

Challenge 1: Safely extending the operational possibilities for drones 

For the commercial drone sector, location accuracy is not only a condition of flight.  Precise GNSS/GPS accuracy opens up more possibilities for challenging tasks. Confidence in the source and quality of data is paramount when selecting a partner to provide autopilot and positioning functionality. 

The availability of high-level positioning accuracy has long been cost-prohibitive, meaning that the market has, to a large degree, operated within proof-of-concept activity for more ambitious use cases. For the commercial drone market to really take off, it needs accurate, reliable, and cost-effective hardware combined with robust software. Finding a quality hardware solution that marries positioning, tracking, and communication is the key to unlocking the full potential of the drone market. 

Challenge 2: Finding a reliable, cost-effective communication solution that can work globally, even in built-up areas

Knowing where your drone is and knowing how it is interacting with other traffic is clearly very important for a drone operator. This is typically even more of a challenge when flying in built-up urban areas where it’s not possible to rely on point-to-point visual line of sight communication. Finding a cost effective and reliable hardware communication solution that can operate in these conditions is tricky, as not all LTE solutions are capable of providing multi-regional and international coverage. 

The solution: Creating an auto-pilot solution that is optimized for all conditions 

For CubePilot the overriding proposition for its clients is precision and quality. Being able to supply an auto-pilot solution that can be relied on, even in the most demanding environments, is what sets them apart from alternative solutions. To ensure this reliability and positioning accuracy, CubePilot partnered with u-blox for its communications and positioning modules.

An end-to-end solution, delivering business value: 

  • Market leading accuracy (down to centimeter level, in the right conditions)
  • Global coverage  
  • Low and efficient power consumption (extending in-air operating time)  
  • Best-in-class performance and safety with affordability for the masses

Specifically, CubePilot utilizes the following modules from u-blox.

These may all be present or in various combinations depending on the specific drone.

  • NEO-M8P –  our high precision positioning module with multi-constellation GNSS and RTK  
  • ZED-F9P – our high precision positioning module with multiband GNSS (multi-constellation, multi-frequency RTK GNSS) 
  • SARA-R510M8S – our LTE communication module with multi-regional positioning and tracking  


Philip Rowse, CTO, CubePilot  “u-blox enables us to design globally certifiable products to support our uncrewed systems customer worldwide; the precision and reliability of the systems make u-blox the best choice.”


By sourcing its high precision positioning and communications modules from u-blox, CubePilot has been able to provide  the commercial drone industry with best-in-class precision accuracy and safety at a fraction of the cost of other comparable solutions, with no compromises. 

  • Full adherence to general aviation safety protocols 
  • Open designs from CubePilot are currently operating in approximately 40% of high end and commercial drones 
  • Up to 400% cost savings versus comparable solutions while maintaining optimum safety 

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