Beyond GPS: Five next-generation technologies


Several DARPA programs are exploring innovative technologies and approaches that could supplement GPS to provide reliable, highly accurate real-time positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) data for military and civilian uses and deal with possible loss of GPS accuracy from solar storms or jamming, for example.

 

DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar  said DARPA currently has five programs that focus on PNT-related technology.

 

Adaptable Navigation Systems (ANS) is developing new algorithms and architectures that can create better inertial measurement devices. By using cold-atom interferometry, which measures the relative acceleration and rotation of a cloud of atoms stored within a sensor, extremely accurate inertial measurement devices could operate for long periods without needing external data to determine time and position. ANS also seeks to exploit non-navigational electromagnetic signals — including commercial satellite, radio and television signals and even lightning strikes — to provide additional points of reference for PNT.

 

Microtechnology for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (Micro-PNT) leverages extreme miniaturization made possible by DARPA-developed micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology. These include precise chip-scale gyroscopes, clocks, and complete integrated timing and inertial measurement devices. DARPA researchers have fabricated a prototype with three gyroscopes, three accelerometers and a highly accurate master clock on a chip that fits easily on the face of a penny.

 

Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout (QuASAR) intends to make the world’s most accurate atomic clocks — which currently reside in laboratories — both robust and portable. QuASAR researchers have developed optical atomic clocks in laboratories with a timing error of less than 1 second in 5 billion years. Making clocks this accurate and portable could improve upon existing military systems such as GPS, and potentially enable entirely new radar, LIDAR, and metrology applications.

 

The Program in Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering (PULSE) applies the latest in pulsed laser technology to significantly improve the precision and size of atomic clocks and microwave sources, enabling more accurate time and frequency synchronization over large distances. It could enable global distribution of time precise enough to take advantage of the world’s most accurate optical atomic clocks.

 

The Spatial, Temporal and Orientation Information in Contested Environments (STOIC) program seeks to develop PNT systems that are independent of GPS: long-range robust reference signals, ultra-stable tactical clocks, and multifunctional systems that provide PNT information between multiples users.

Source: www.kurzweilai.net

Thanks to Dr. Stefan Gruenwald for this fascinating article.  According to Gruenwald, major changes are coming in the way we do GPS.  DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said backup  plans are being made to keep the nation’s digital network functioning after a “Carrington Event” super flare from the sun.  These changes will also affect the ARPS system used by amateur radio operators.  Prabhakar said DARPA is looking into these technologies:

 

Adaptable Navigation Systems.

Microtechnology for position, navigation, and timing.

Quantum-assisted sensing and readout (QUASAR).

The Program in ultrafast laser science and engineering.

The spatial, temporal, and overt information in contested environments  program.

 

Exciting times are ahead for the military, civilian industry, and even amateur radio operators.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

See on Scoop.itKH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog

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