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Navman Expands Research Potential

Navman Expands Research Potential

Navman NZ Ltd is expanding its research base and students from Auckland and Canterbury Universities are reaping the benefit.

Navman has been awarded more than $280,000 in government funding, which will be allocated to university student researchers over the next three years.

Already several potential research projects have been identified, which will build on Navman expertise in GPS technology to develop new or improved products.

According to Navman president, Peter Maire, the funding from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology's pilot TIF (Technology for Industry Fellowships) Strategic scheme will enable the company to tackle research projects using universities' brightest brains.

"It means we become a halfway house between industry and academia. The benefit is two-way, with students gaining industry experience and career development within our industry, while we are able to look at projects that are related to our current business but are more strategic in nature," he says.

"We have established a strategic engineering group within Navman where masters and PhD students can work alongside our engineers and do post-graduate blue sky research that is a real stretch on our existing technology."

Mr Maire says early projects on the drawing board include adding dead reckoning into NAVMAN GPS receivers to maximise performance in urban canyons and other low signal situations.

The company already has three undergraduate project in hand scoping out potential growth areas, particularly in land navigation, with Masters students elaborating on those findings.

" While there is considerable investment by Navman in mentoring, particularly at undergraduate level, the programme provides a solid foundation for the company's long term strategy in providing high calibre engineers for the industry as a whole," he says.

Peter Maire says the TIF Strategic funding will build on the company's own initiatives with Auckland University's third year engineering school students. "For several years we have been working closely with the electrical and electronic engineering students initiating and sponsoring industry-relevant projects. A number of the students have gone on to gain work experience with Navman and the research projects themselves have provided a base for commercial initiatives.

"Being recognised as a leading technology company, with the ability to grow new technical expertise by providing a variety of industry-oriented research projects to bright young engineers, is a powerful message of encouragement, both to graduates and industry."

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