BAE Systems unveils research on an advanced positioning system using existing transmissions to calculate accurately the user’s location
Military platforms commonly use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to find their position and navigate. GPS rely upon a specific and relatively weak satellite signal that is vulnerable to disruption. Known as Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP), BAE Systems’ new system is able to calculate its position by making use of the hundreds of different signals that are all around us.
The NAVSOP system 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.
By exploiting a wide range of signals, NAVSOP is resistant to hostile interference such as jamming (a particular weakness of GPS) and spoofing, where a bogus signal tricks a device into misidentifying its location. 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. 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.
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."