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Arati Prabhakar: DARPA Exploring New Positioning, Navigation, Timing Tech Beyond GPS

Arati Prabhakar
Arati Prabhakar

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is holding five programs to develop new technologies that would provide positioning, navigation and timing information for locations beyond the coverage of GPS.

DARPA said Friday the future technologies will work to deliver the same capabilities underwater, underground or in the event of solar storms or signal interference.

“[We] are putting new physics, new devices, and new algorithms on the job so our people and our systems can break free of their reliance on GPS,” said Arati Prabhakar, DARPA director.

The Adaptable Navigation Systems program will focus on plug-and-play PNT sensors integration across platforms, cold-atom interferometry for inertial measurement and non-navigational electromagnetic signals for stronger PNT signals.

DARPA also launched the Microtechnology for Positioning, Navigation and Timing program to use micro-electromechanical systems to develop chip-scale PNT devices and sensors such as gyroscopes.

Through the Quantum-Assisted Sensing and Readout program, DARPA aims to develop portable and precise atomic clocks.

The Program in Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering program will look into pulsed laser technology for synchronization of atomic clocks across large distances.

DARPA’s Spatial, Temporal and Orientation Information in Contested Environments program will target long-range reference signals, multi-user and multifunctional systems and ultra-stable tactical clocks for delivering PNT data independent of GPS.

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