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Feb 2019 | No Comment

Lockheed Martin looking forward to explore GPS III capabilities

Lockheed Martin launched its first GPS III satellite and confirms that the unit is communicating efficiently with ground-control operators.

The GPS III program involves new ground stations and new, higher-power satellites, with additional navigation signals for both civilian and military users, and aims to improve the accuracy and availability for all users. GPS III offers three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, according to Lockheed. The first series of GPS III satellites consists of 10 satellites, and USAF chose Lockheed to build three of these in 2016.

In September 2016, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a contract option for two more Block IIIA satellites, setting the total number of GPS IIIA satellites to ten. It was the first of these satellites, SV01, that was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on December 18, 2018.

Public consultation on integrity, reliability of digital maps

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) had organised a public consultation on the Integrity & Reliability of Digital Maps for Connected and Automated Driving, in connection with the recently published Commission Communication on Connected and Automated Mobility. The public consultation was open until January 27, 2019.

This communication addresses the need to investigate the integrity and reliability of digital maps in order to facilitate the deployment of fully automated and connected vehicles. The communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions is titled “On the road to automated mobility: An EU strategy for mobility of the future.”

Digital maps are an essential building block to ensure a safe driving experience for highly automated driving and autonomous vehicles. Purpose-built maps will be produced that will be much more reliable and accurate than those used for traditional applications.

These digital maps will be enriched with information from public databases and sensor data from connected vehicles. Traffic information, such as speed limits or the real-time dynamics of traffic flow, will help the vehicle’s navigation system to anticipate upcoming road conditions and take decisions beyond what is enabled by the vehicle’s on-board sensors. Currently, it is the navigation and map provider’s responsibility to ensure the integrity of its products and the reliability of the information provided by third-party suppliers. However, until now the maps have been mainly used to support navigation, giving information to the driver, rather than to support safety-related functions.

Some industry standards exist or are being developed for data exchange and map content, but there are currently no specific standards or certification procedures to assess map data quality characteristics, such as reliability, integrity and traceability. The GSA says this public consultation is a starting point in addressing this issue. www.gsa.europa.eu.

Joint research by scientists of MAI and Beihang University

Research groups of Moscow Aviation Institute and Beihang University negotiated the possibility of cooperation in the field of satellite navigation systems.

The Beihang University delegation consisted of professors and associate professors of the School of Electronic and Information Engineering, who are engaged in research of Chinese satellite navigation system BeiDou. The MAI delegation was represented by researchers and radio engineers of Department №402 “Radio systems and control, transfer of information and information security systems”. The scientists of the Department are engaged with the creation of GLONASS, space-based satellite navigation system operating in the radionavigationsatellite service, since 1982.

Both the parties made provisional arrangements on the possibility for creating joint training manuals for students, lecturing, creating joint research groups and a roadmap for setting up a joint institute for young researchers and students. Earlier MAI and Beihang University concluded agreements on creation of joint Master’s double degree program. https://qswownews.com

Magnetic North’s erratic behavior forces update to global navigation system

Earth’s magnetic north pole is veering towards Siberia at an incredibly fast rate, and experts are not sure why. The erratic movement has forced the scientists tasked with monitoring the planet’s magnetic field to update their system that underlies global navigation, from Google Maps to shipping. As liquid iron swirls around in the Earth’s core, the magnetic field – and therefore the poles – shift around gradually and often unpredictably. Scientists must periodically update the World Magnetic Model to map this process, and the most recent version – produced in 2015 – was intended to last until 2020.

However, the magnetic field has been changing so quickly and erratically that while conducting a routine check in early 2018, British and US researchers realised drastic steps were needed. The shift they observed was so large it was on the verge of exceeding the acceptable limit for navigation errors. To account for this, scientists at the British Geological Survey and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are issuing an unprecedented emergency update to the model. They have fed in the latest data, including an unexpected geomagnetic pulse that took place beneath South America in 2016, to ensure the system is more accurate. The changes are essential as the system is used by aircraft, ships and even smartphones, which make use of the Earth’s magnetic field to establish which direction someone is facing. www.independent.co.uk

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