News Item

Automatic GPS back-up

The EU’s ACCSEAS project has successfully completed trials of the world’s first automatic back-up for GPS.

The 'Accessibility for Shipping, Efficiency Advantages and Sustainability' (ACCSEAS) project has demonstrated an automatic back-up that activates when any satellite signal is jammed.

Institute Past-President Prof David Last FRIN - speaking on behalf of the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs), one of the partners of the ACCSEAS project - described the trials to TechWeekEurope.

He explained that the prototype, relying on eLoran, was demonstrated aboard THV Galatea, sailing out of Harwich between 28 February and 1 March - the first time that an automatic and seamless solution had been demonstrated in a real-world scenario.

Prof Last adds that GPS jamming is an increasingly serious problem in the UK that, until now, has had no solution - 'Any crude jammer will take out the highest grade civilian receivers'. He also believes that GPS jamming as a tool for terrorism is a very real possibility, and hopes that UK will modernise its infrastructure in time.

It seems that nobody knows how much GPS jamming is going on, but it appears that it’s mostly individuals using so-called ‘personal privacy devices’ that can be bought online for as little as £30. Whilst this is not a problem for average users who temporarily lose the ability to locate themselves, in shipping and transport, not being able to receive GPS can cost lives.

And the same jamming techniques can be used against all GNSS - Russia’s GLONASS, China's Beidou and EU’s Galileo as well as GPS.

To establish just how widespread jamming is, the UK government had recently launched the 24-month Sentinel project, which has been picking up an increasing number of hits.

To determine the benefits of eLoran as an anti-jamming tool, ACCSEAS installed the system in THV Galatea sailing in the North Sea, and proceeded to deliberately jam GPS. eLoran successfully fulfilled its mission and automatically took over to deliver navigation data when GPS became unavailable.

See the full article at the TechWeekEurope link below . .

  • 08 March 2013
  • MTNG

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