STMicroelectronics and Nanotron Technologies GmbH have announced a definitive, non-exclusive agreement under which the two companies will jointly develop complete solutions for the Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) market. These solutions offering robust communication, precision ranging and high accuracy positioning will operate on emerging low data rate (LDR) networks that meet the recently begun efforts to establish a low data rate wireless personal area network (IEEE 802.15.4a) standard. Nanotron brings to the initiative its expertise and intellectual property in the design and manufacture of RF systems using the Chirp Spread Spectrum radio hardware and software, while STMicroelectronics will contribute world class capabilities in semiconductor technology and development, as well as its global manufacturing and marketing resources.

The work will involve joint development of components and reference designs for a complete roadmap of next-generation location awareness solutions with hardware, software and tools, for the industrial and the active RFID asset tracking market. A first joint Chirp product from the partners is planned for launch in early 2007.

“The continued growth of active RFID applications depends upon advancements in RF technologies, like Chirp and symmetric double-sided two-way ranging, to enable solutions that are highly robust, highly accurate and simple to deploy at low cost,” said Jim Nicholas, general manager of ST’s Microcontroller Division. “By working with Nanotron, we intend to complement our RF LDR products with new high performance reliable communications platforms that will dramatically improve our customers’ time-to-market.”