Positioning, navigation, and timing are key to ensuring the location accuracy critical to the success of modern military missions. Today’s military systems typically rely on the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to ensure their position accuracy. While GPS provides sub-meter accuracy in optimal conditions, the signal is often lost or degraded due to natural interference or malicious jamming. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded HRL Laboratories, LLC, $4.3 million to develop vibration- and shock-tolerant inertial sensor technology that enables future system accuracy needs without utilizing GPS.
According to Dr. Logan Sorenson, Principal Investigator and Research Staff Member in HRL’s Sensors and Materials Laboratory, “The ATLAS project will deliver a comprehensive approach to breaking performance and cost, size, weight, and power barriers in inertial sensor technology that prevent robust, GPS-independent, military positioning, navigation, and guidance,” he said.
ATLAS will combine intimate locking of a Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Coriolis Vibratory Gyroscope (CVG) sensor with an atomically-stable frequency reference in order to exploit the intrinsic accuracy of the atomic hyperfine transition frequency. “The engineering challenge lies in developing a system architecture to transfer the stability from the atomic reference to the CVG sensor without introducing unintended noise,” said Dr. Sorenson. “We are very excited to explore this novel approach to addressing long-standing precision navigation need faced by the U.S. military.”
HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California (hrl.com) is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.
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