US army seeks new technology to replace GPS

Agence France-Presse. April 29th, 2013

The US army  is working to limit its dependence on GPS  by developing the next generation of navigation technology, including a tiny  autonomous chip, the director of the Pentagon’s research agency said  Wednesday.

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DARPA, the research group behind a range of spy tech and which helped invent  the Internet, was also the driving force behind the creation of the Global  Positioning System, director Arati Prabhakar said at a press conference.

“In the 1980s, when GPS satellites started to become widely deployed… it  meant carrying an enormous box around on your vehicle,” she said.

“Now it’s got to the point where it’s embedded not just in all our platforms  but in many of our weapons,” as well as in many civilian devices, she said.

But “sometimes a capability is so powerful that our reliance on it, in  itself, becomes a vulnerability,” she added.

“I think that’s where we are today with GPS.”

Among the fears: the GPS signal could be scrambled by an adversary, as  happened recently in South Korea.

Starting in 2010, DARPA has been working on a variety of programs aimed at  developing new navigation and positioning technology — at first with the goal of  extending their reach to places where satellites don’t work, such as  underwater.

But now, amid fears of over-reliance on — and possible vulnerabilities with — global positioning satellites, experts are looking to create not just a  companion, but an alternative to GPS.

To that end, researchers at DARPA and the University of Michigan have created  a new system that works without satellites to determine position, time and  direction, all contained within a eight-cubic-millimeter chip.

The tiny chip holds three gyroscopes, three accelerometers and an atomic  clock, which, together, work as an autonomous navigation  system.

DARPA envisages using this technology to replace GPS in some contexts,  especially in small-caliber ammunition or for monitoring people.

Another approach would use existing signals, such as those generated by  broadcast antennas, radios, telephone towers and even lightning to temporarily  replace GPS.

Prabhakar emphasized there “will not be a monolithic new solution, it will be  a series of technologies to track and fix time and position from external  sources.”



One thought on “US army seeks new technology to replace GPS

  1. Pingback: ARGUS-IS surveillance camera module/bio-chip/autonomous chip/DARPA/CASP: Concurrent Autonomous Chip Self-Test … | THE DAY AND HOUR UNKNOWN

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