New Navsop positioning system to rival GPS?
BAE Systems has unveiled a new navigation system that could rival or even replace existing technologies such as GPS.
The advanced positioning system, known as Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP), exploits existing transmissions such as WiFi, TV, radio and mobile phone signals, to calculate the user's location to within a few metres.
By exploiting such a wide range of signals, BAE says NAVSOP is resistant to hostile interference such as jamming and spoofing, where a bogus signal tricks a device into misidentifying its location. According to the defence giant, the new system can learn from signals that are initially unidentified to build an ever more accurate and reliable fix on its location. Even the signals from GPS jammers can be exploited by the device to aid navigation under certain conditions.
"The real beauty of NAVSOP is that the infrastructure required to make it work is already in place," commented James Baker, managing director at BAE Systems' Advanced Technology Centre. "There is no need to build costly networks of transmitters and the hardware behind the system is already commercially available. Another benefit is that it can be integrated into existing positioning devices to provide superior performance to GPS."
A major advantage of the system, according to Baker, is its ability to function in places where GPS is unable to reach, such as dense urban areas and deep inside buildings. It is also able to work in the most remote parts of the world, such as the Arctic, by picking up signals that include Low-Earth-Orbit satellites and other civilian signals.
From aiding soldiers operating in remote or dense urban areas to providing improved security for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which could face attempts to disrupt their guidance systems, BAE believes NAVSOP has a wide range of potential military applications.
"At a time when the need to be innovative and resourceful is more important than ever, this capability represents truly outside the box thinking by providing a cost effective system with a wide variety of different applications," Baker noted. "This technology is a real game changer when it comes to navigation, which builds upon the rich heritage that both BAE Systems and the UK have in radio engineering."
The research is generating interest in both defence and civilian domains where its uses could include helping fire and rescue services find their way through smoke filled buildings and enhancing the safety of lone workers and security staff.
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