All sectors of the economy are impacted by GPS/GNSS vulnerability. However, the impact is different in each sector. RF interference could have tremendous impact across different sectors, including offshore oil and gas, agriculture, automotive, construction, mining, or even within the consumer market. At this time, however, users do not seem to be fully aware of the risks. To illustrate the attitudes around GNSS vulnerabilities across several sectors, I would like to make an analogy. Before the COVID-19 crisis first began 16 months ago, there were many discussions around the potential risk of a global pandemic and what the economic impact would be. There was much activity around “what if” scenarios, but no way to measure the real impacts we have experienced. The current discussions around GNSS vulnerabilities appear to be the same — we know interference and jamming happen. We know there could be a tremendous economic impact due to these vulnerabilities across markets like marine, agriculture, construction, mining, automotive, or consumers, but everybody seems to wait until something happens.
An important difference is that GNSS protection is available right now. Users in many markets continue not to be fully aware of the risks or the available protection; the positioning industry must make a much bigger and better effort to communicate these technologies already available to protect against GNSS vulnerabilities and mitigate the economic impacts before a major incident occurs.
We are excited to see legal protection and other government initiatives around the responsible use of PNT services. That said, we will continue to invest heavily in researching cutting-edge technologies to actively protect user PNT. Governmental protections provide guidance for lawmakers, but will not entirely remove the risk of jamming and spoofing across domains. As such, anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technologies will remain in our core research and solutions at Hexagon.
We have two methods of mitigating jamming and spoofing. Our GPS Anti-Jam Technology (GAJT) actively protects any GNSS receiver against ongoing interference threats, whether benign or malicious. Our GNSS Resilience and Integrity Technology (GRIT) builds NovAtel OEM positioning system’s resiliency, strengthening your system’s ability to withstand potential threats. These two core technologies offer users solutions in various scenarios, whether in a domain experiencing active and ongoing jamming and spoofing attempts or users building a more robust positioning solution.
These two technologies provide different methods of obtaining “assured positioning” —precise, reliable, accurate and always available PNT — which is necessary for many industries and the foundation of Hexagon’s goal of autonomous mobility. For a fully protected system that is resilient to jamming and spoofing, solutions must be both proactive and robust through preventative and alternative methods. The future is an intelligent solution that detects an “anomaly” quickly and adjusts in real time to mitigate the threat without human intervention. This automated proactive solution ensures continuous PNT and assured positioning.
Technologies and geospatial applications requiring precise positioning are growing at the same rate as the increasing threat of interference. Traditionally, our solutions have supported professional applications through hardware and software for robust anti-jamming and anti-spoofing. However, our solutions can expand across applications and users to meet the demand for interference protection.
Consumer markets and applications are experiencing a need and demand for higher accuracy and precision in positioning. As that demand for higher accuracy grows, these markets will also need to address ways to protect user PNT in the face of interference, jamming and spoofing threats.
The need for large systems of terrestrial PNT infrastructure will be reduced as multi-frequency and multi-constellation GNSS receivers become more widespread. As an example, the latest PPP correction technologies will no longer rely on large local or regional infrastructure. Hexagon’s Autonomy & Positioning Division announced an innovation we call “RTK from the Sky,” which enables globally available centimeter-level accuracy with near-instantaneous convergence — all built with our standard global network. As users adopt these technologies, the need for local or regional public terrestrial PNT infrastructure will decrease and naturally any spoofing attempt of these services would have to be globally and hence is easier to protect against.
Michael Ritter, President of Autonomy & Positioning Division, Hexagon
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