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Goodbye Gps? DARPA Prepares New Tracking Technology

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The TomTom portable navigation system.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working to develop position- and navigation-tracking technology that is more reliable and accurate than global-positioning systems.

Credit: TomTom

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing new, self-contained instruments with the goal of delivering more advanced position- and navigation-tracking technology.

The All Source Positioning and Navigation system would be more reliable and accurate than global-positioning systems (GPS), which can be jammed by opponents and is inaccessible in some parts of the world.

"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," DARPA says.

Algorithms would enable the new tracking technology to be more flexible and customizable. The new instruments, which could better track position, time, and direction of motion, will include high-precision clocks, self-calibrating gyroscopes and accelerometers, and high-precision instruments that can track position for long periods without relying on external sources.

DARPA also is developing sensors that use signals of opportunity such as TV, radio, cell towers, satellites, and even lighting for real-time tracking. Compact navigation systems could be given to soldiers, put on tanks, or implemented in guidance systems.

From IDG News Service
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