You've probably seen the recent news reports on how easy it is to spoof or jam GPS. Even without jamming, inside buildings or in dense urban areas GPS often doesn't work or delivers the wrong position. Downtown Los Angeles, for example, is one area where GPS struggles. BAE Systems may have an answer to this problem with their “Navigation via Signals of Opportunity” or NAVSOP system. It exploits existing Wi-Fi, TV, radio and mobile phone transmissions to calculate a user's location to within a few meters.
BAE Systems says the new system can learn from initially unidentified signals to build an ever more accurate and reliable fix on its location, even exploiting the signals from GPS jammers under certain conditions. The company points out that the infrastructure needed for NAVSOP is already in place – “there is no need to build costly networks of transmitters.” It can be integrated into existing positioning devices to provide superior performance to GPS and can work in areas where GPS doesn't. Even in areas remote areas like the Arctic, where there are few, if any terrestrial transmitters, it can use signals from low-Earth-orbiting satellites and other civilian signals.
Dr. Ramsey Faragher, Principal Scientist from BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre, is one of the pioneers in this area. He said, “The potential applications of this technology are already generating huge excitement in both civilian and military circles. This research is a great example of BAE Systems working closely with potential customers to not only improve the performance of existing technology, but also tackle their weaknesses head on and find innovative ways to reduce or eliminate them.”
James Baker, Managing Director at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre, said, “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. 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.”
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