DARPA feels GPS is old news and is now developing new location-tracking tech

27 Mar 2015

Move over GPS and GLONASS, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) says it is working hard on developing new location-tracking tech because it feels the current tech is unreliable.

According to the US military’s research division document charting its future plans for national security, there is considerable demand from US forces to develop this new location technology to get the leg-up over their opponents given that GPS and GLONASS are accessible to anyone with a current mobile phone.

Other issues that make GPS unfavourable in the long term is that it is possible to block a device’s GPS signal with satellites orbiting the Earth and in some cases isn’t accessible in the remotest regions of the planet.

Using the world around you, rather than looking up

Among some of the new devices that DARPA are developing, say PC World, are devices which can more accurately track the user’s position, direction and time with the help of high-precision clocks, self-calibrating gyroscopes and accelerometers, and high-precision navigation instruments, all of which are not reliant on satellites.

Amazingly, some of these devices are being developed so that they can use other technology around them to pin-point their location including using TV or radio signals mobile phone towers and, in some cases, public lighting, all under the umbrella term All Source Positioning and Navigation or ASPN for short.

It’s now a matter for the DARPA research teams to develop this equipment to a smaller scale, much like what was seen with GPS equipment which now exists in handheld form.

GPS satellite image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic