Anyone who’s tried to negotiate their way cross-country with only a satnav for guidance knows that GPS signal can be temperamental. It seems that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) must have also struggled with a ten-hour road trip from Bournemouth to Loch Lomond, as it is developing a “radical” new technology to replace global positioning systems.
DARPA has written a new paper on the matter, in which it states its aim to create a system that goes beyond satellite tracking and signal strength. Or, as DARPA puts it, “The need to be able to operate effectively in areas where GPS is inaccessible, unreliable or potentially denied by adversaries, has created a demand for alternative precision timing and navigation capabilities.”
As part of the endeavour, DARPA is also developing self-calibrating gyroscopes, accelerometers, and tracking clocks that don’t depend on wireless signal. The system is projected to be self-contained, housing all the data you need to track your position within the device. In addition, DARPA wants to track local “signals of opportunity”, like television, radio, and even meteorological conditions, such as lightning, to help location tracking.
DARPA is, of course, focusing on military implementation but, as with all good tech, the new location system is sure to bleed through to the consumer market.