Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Next Generation GPS – US Army

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

When GPS was first developed it revolutionised many areas of life.  Like many technologies it was the battlefield and more specifically the US army who brought this into our lives.  The first GPS systems required an enormous box to be transported in order to register the signal.  Today GPS transmitters and receivers are built into all sorts of devices from mobile phones, cars to individual weapons.

Of course the Global Positioning System of the 1980s was a very different technology than it is today, but the reserach group who helped pioneer it’s use is now looking for a successor.  The reality is that armed forces around the world are so dependent on GPS that it’s now looking like a vulnerability more than an asset.  GPS relies on a signal and it’s very possible that this can be intercepted or scrambled.  In fact there is some evidence that this has happened in South Korea recently.

The scares have meant that DARPA the research group who developed the system are now trying to create a system which is not reliant on satellites and a signal being sent and received from them.  There is also funding from other sources including the Government, US law enforcement agencies and corporate sponsors.  Obviously we can’t return to the era of huge boxes to make these systems work and the target is a small computer chip.

The system being developed actually contains three gyroscopes, three accelerometers and an atomic clock which combined together should create a 21st Century autonomous navigation systems.  That is a GPS system which works independantly of satellites and needs no signals or outside connectivity of any sorts.

As such this technology has not been created and it may be that we see an entirely different technology superceding GPS.  There is talk about boosting existing signals like radio or even light waves to act as a back up to standard GPS systems when needed.

If  you want to learn more about the new developments it’s worth checking out the various online technology sites.  Recommended is the BBCs technology site and the show – Byte which helps anyone keep up with new technological updates.  Unfortunately  this isn’t possible outside the UK unless you follow these instructions – how to watch BBC Iplayer abroad – http://www.proxyusa.com/bbciplayerabroad2012. This explains how you can change your IP address in order to access the wonderful BBC Iplayer application.  It’s also useful for other sites with restrictions like Hulu outside the US.