Researchers from Delft College of Expertise, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and VSL have developed an alternate positioning system that’s extra sturdy and correct than GPS, particularly in city settings. The working prototype that demonstrated this new cellular community infrastructure achieved an accuracy of 10 centimeters. This new expertise is essential for implementing a spread of location-based functions, together with automated automobiles, quantum communication and next-generation cellular communication methods. The outcomes had been revealed in Nature at present.
A lot of our important infrastructure depends on world navigation satellite tv for pc methods resembling US GPS and EU Galileo. But these satellite-based methods have their limitations and vulnerabilities. Their radio alerts are weak when obtained on Earth, and exact positioning is now not potential if the radio alerts are mirrored or blocked by buildings. “This will make GPS unreliable in city settings, for instance,” says Christiaan Tiberius of Delft College of Expertise and challenge coordinator, “which is an issue if we ever need to use automated automobiles. residents and our authorities really depend upon GPS for a lot of location-based functions and navigation units. Additionally, till now, we did not have a backup system.”
The goal of the challenge known as SuperGPS was to develop an alternate positioning system that makes use of the cellular telecommunications community as an alternative of satellites and which could possibly be extra sturdy and correct than GPS. “We realized that with just a few cutting-edge improvements, the telecommunications community could possibly be remodeled right into a extremely correct, GPS-independent different positioning system,” says Jeroen Koelemeij from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. “We have now succeeded and have efficiently developed a system that may present connectivity similar to current cellular and Wi-Fi networks, in addition to exact positioning and time distribution like GPS.”
An atomic clock
Considered one of these improvements is to attach the cellular community to a really exact atomic clock, in order that it could broadcast completely synchronized messages for positioning, simply as GPS satellites do utilizing the atomic clocks they embark. These connections are made by way of the present fiber optic community. “We had already studied methods to distribute the nationwide time produced by our atomic clocks to customers elsewhere by way of the telecommunications community,” explains Erik Dierikx of VSL. “With these methods, we are able to remodel the community right into a nationally distributed atomic clock – with many new functions resembling very exact positioning by way of cellular networks. With the optical-wireless hybrid system we’ve got now demonstrated , in precept, anybody can have wi-fi entry to nationwide time produced at VSL. It basically kinds a particularly correct radio clock that’s good to a billionth of a second.”
As well as, the system makes use of radio alerts with a a lot bigger bandwidth than generally used. “Buildings replicate radio alerts, which might confuse navigation units. The huge bandwidth of our system helps kind out these complicated sign reflections and permits for larger positioning accuracy,” says Gerard Janssen of the College of Delft expertise. “On the identical time, bandwidth within the radio spectrum is scarce and due to this fact costly. We circumvent this by utilizing various related low-bandwidth radio alerts unfold over a big digital bandwidth. This has the benefit that solely a small fraction of the digital bandwidth is definitely used and the alerts might be similar to cellphones.”
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