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SoftBank's telecom unit to launch positioning service in Japan

SoftBank Corp. will launch a service that uses satellite signals and its network of mobile base stations to help power agricultural machinery, self-driving cars, drones and other equipment.

The new offering, which will be a "Real-Time Kinematic" positioning service, aims to provide positioning with centimeter-level accuracy to enterprises in Japan. SoftBank said it will use its base stations for mobile communications to install over 3,300 control points necessary for the new positioning service.

Companies involved in the trials include local agricultural machinery company Yanmar Agribusiness and construction company Kajima Corp. SoftBank unit SB Drive Corp., which develops self-driving technology for buses and other vehicles, will also run trials.

The service will begin trials in July and will officially launch nationwide in November.

SoftBank Corp. is the telecom unit of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.