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GPS Interference at Le Mans

September 21, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is a re-post from the blog of our friends at SPIRENT. Very interesting example of how GPS vulnerability impacts so many areas that most people never consider.

GPS Interference at Le Mans: What Motorsport Teams – and Device Developers Everywhere – Need to Know

SPIRENT Blog

I’ve had the privilege of working closely alongside Aston Martin Racing during this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship. My time in the paddock at Silverstone and Le Mans – and in the Prodrive lab – has yielded some important findings, both for the team, and for GPS engineers in general.

At Spirent, we started working with Aston Martin Racing (AMR) during the 2015 season. Like many of the teams, AMR had experienced intermittent issues with the FIA’s official GPS telemetry device – a key source of information about each car’s speed and track position, as well as a record used for stewards’ adjudications during and after the race.

Despite extensive experiments with antenna positioning, the team could not trace the source of the problem – so I joined them at pre-season testing and races at Silverstone at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, to confirm whether track conditions or the race car itself might be interfering with the signal.

I also visited the team headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire, to characterise the performance of the GPS logging device itself.

Our findings had some important implications – not just for World Endurance Championship participants, but for any engineer developing a GPS-enabled device.

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