New GPS technology that can identify locations accurate to within centimetres could open the way for huge advances in virtual reality and mobile mapping, scientists believe.

Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas said the centimetre-accurate GPS-based positioning system could allow unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages to a specific spot on a consumer’s back porch.

The new system, which is far more precise than the orientation capability currently available on smartphones, could also enable collision avoidance technologies on cars and allow virtual reality (VR) headsets to be used outdoors.

Researchers said the advanced GPS coupled with a smartphone camera could be used to quickly build a globally referenced 3-D map of one’s surroundings that would greatly expand the radius of a VR game. Currently, VR does not use GPS, which limits its use to indoors and usually a two-to three-foot radius.

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