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DARPA taps Rockwell Collins for GPS backup technologies

September 24, 2015

By Richard Tomkins, UPI
Sept. 21, 2015

Rockwell Collins has been contracted by U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to research and develop technologies for systems that could be used as backups to GPS.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, Sept. 21 (UPI) — Technologies that could serve as backups for the military’s GPS system are to be developed by Rockwell Collins.

The development award was issued by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of its Spatial, Temporal and Orientation Information in Contested Environments, or STOIC, program, which seeks to reduce warfighter dependence on GPS for military operations.

“STOIC technology could augment GPS, or it may act as a substitute for GPS in contested environments where GPS is degraded or denied,” said John Borghese, vice president of the Rockwell Collins Advanced Technology Center. “The time-transfer and ranging capabilities we are developing seek to enable distributed platforms to cooperatively locate targets, employ jamming in a surgical fashion, and serve as a backup to GPS for relative navigation.”

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Editors note: It is great to see DARPA working on this. It’s always good to push forward the boundaries of science and technology. Those concerned with critical infrastructure, though, should remember that:

– DARPA’s projects are typically focused on ‘bleeding edge’ technologies that will be useful in 20 years or so. The problem we have is right now. In fact we are 11 years overdue responding to a 2004 presidential mandate for a GPS backup system.

– DARPA’s projects tend to be focused on military applications like helping a smart bomb find its way to a target. The “D” stands for “Defense” after all. They won’t necessarily help secure national infrastructure or ensure that UPS can deliver packages or Uber can find its customers during a GPS outage.