Sometimes, even a satellite needs a helping hand. Or, in this case, a helping sensor.
We’ve told you about the Locata sensor before. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a positioning system that uses a local network, rather than satellites, to give you the lay of the land. The technology is already being used in the military.
The U.S. Air Force is now deploying a network across White Sands Missile Range, where they intentionally jam GPS and satellite communication for security reasons.
Now the military is hoping to take this tech a step further.
They’re using Locata technology as a location augmentation, if you will. The U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) has signed a cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) to build and demonstrate new Locata technology for use in GPS receivers on a widespread level.
AFIT plans to design and test several other GPS-based versions of Locata’s flexible switching antenna array to assess how Locata’s commercial antennas can be adapted for military use. Designs already discussed include stand-alone antennas, arrays conformal to a vehicle’s frame (e.g. a flat one for a Humvee’s roof, curved for aircraft fuselages, etc) and a version built into helmets.
There are a lot of benefits to having this kind of situational awareness. We’ll start with a look at the technology itself.