The next-generation of deep-space GPS satellites has just reached a milestone -- but an even better, unjammable system is already available here on earth.
Last week Lockheed Martin crossed a milestone, finishing "thermal vacuum" tests for GPS III, a new class of satellites that will replace the aging craft in orbit around Earth. GPS III will introduce anti-jamming tech to address a serious threat to troops, drones and ships that rely on GPS for navigation and targeting.
The first satellite could launch in 2014, but a better option may already exist: BAE's Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP) doesn’t depend on satellite signals, instead using a wide range of common signals readily available to sidestep jammers.
It can even use the GPS jammer signal itself. And it’s just as accurate, BAE says.
In BAE’s system, everyday signals like TV, Wi-Fi, radio or cell phone are used to triangulate the location of a person or vehicle. NAVSOP gets the position exact within several feet with this signal-scavenging approach.
It uses all sorts of other signals as well, from GPS satellite to air traffic control. The system can even learn and evolve by taking signals that were originally unidentified and using them to build increasingly reliable and more exact fixes on location.