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BAE Systems develops alternative to GPS

by Alistair Lowe on 29 June 2012, 11:39

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabiyv

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In today's world, both consumers and industry alike have become and, are becoming, increasingly reliant on GPS technology to provide accurate positioning and/or timing information. So much so, that the EU commission estimates that over £640 billion of the EU economy is dependant on the capabilities of GPS (aviation, shipping, agriculture and telecomms to name a few).

Knowing this has therefore created financial incentives and funding for projects that look to offer an alternative to GPS, to be utilised in the event that either natural causes, such as radiation from the sun or, man-made causes, such as war, knock-out the GPS system. Likewise, the system has limitations when it comes to indoor use.


UK defence firm, BAE Systems, believes it has the answer with its Navsop system. The new tech relies on wireless signals from large comms networks, such as TV, mobile and radio antennas, determining locations based on direction and signal strength, with some of the frequencies capable of penetrating walls for indoor use.

Navsop requires GPS at first to gain its bearings, however, soon learns to use the wireless signals in the area to obtain its location, eventually becoming capable of functioning completely free from or in compliment to GPS. As the technology can work indoors, it has potential applications in augmented reality or search and rescue.

Currently the system sits in a big black box on the roof of a researcher's car, however, the group believes it can be reduced to the same size as a standard GPS system in the near-future, at which point the technology could become viable for roll-out. It'll be interesting to see if this is picked up for commercial use as well.

HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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Simple ideas often very useful, sounds great for low-moderate granularity locating, can't see if being as accurate as pure GPS but definitely better than the nothing or the wildly inaccurate results from cell triangulation we have in dead spots now.
Sounds a lot like Skyhook.
Lordy it's BAE, means the government will probably just say yes please for a figure of 100 million and end up paying ten fold!
I thought alternatives like GLONASS,Gallieo and Beidou already existed??

I've not heard of all of those but I assume that like GPS they're sateillite based ?
This and Skyhook are more about mapping the electromagnetic ‘map’ based on GPS readings. Once mapped, a position can be calculated without any sateillites.