Globalstar Inc. and its partner Echo Ridge LLC have informed the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) that they have developed and can demonstrate a navigation that could be deployed in the event of a failure of the US Government-owned GPS system.
Globalstar and Echo Ridge have told the USDOT that they are prepared to participate in and support a live field demonstration of a stand-alone positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability that can provide accurate and reliable PNT services to backup and/or complement GPS in case of its unavailability or unreliability. The companies have responded to a USDOT Request for Information (RFI) regarding the agency’s plans to find a solution to the possible disruption to the country’s transportation network in the event of problems with GPS. The partners informed the DOT that all the required elements are available now for demonstration of a backup system that provides diversity of frequency, constellation, and signal to the existing GPS system, as well as independent ground and management infrastructure.
Louisiana-based Globalstar is a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services to the public and private sectors. The company’s network of 24 satellites covers over 80% of the Earth’s surface and uses a modern W-CDMA air interface. In 2018, the company launched its Globalstar Automotive division to support future connected and autonomous vehicles and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) by assisting automotive OEMs and other ecosystem partners to implement connectivity solutions for vehicles and critical transportation infrastructure.
Headquartered in Virginia, Echo Ridge is a small business that provides RF-focused product development, including intellectual property development, to the US Government and commercial marketplace through hardware and software design and production, and signal processing algorithm development. The company develops, produces, and sells advanced devices/systems for PNT that employ proprietary alternate navigation technology to provide assured navigation in GPS-unavailable environments.
The Globalstar-Echo Ridge system is based on new augmented positioning system (APS) technology that uses ordinary signals from communications satellites (not special positioning/navigation signals, such as GPS) to produce accurate PNT information in compatible user devices. No new infrastructure is needed; Globalstar’s constellation of 24 low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites and Echo Ridge software and compatible devices at the user end provide the building blocks for the APS-based system.
APS technology has been successfully demonstrated in diverse environments and incorporates multiple features that boost availability and reliability to produce accurate PNT information under circumstances that can challenge or disable GPS/GNSS technology. The technology can work independently of GPS and other global navigation satellite systems and is designed to maintain high performance in a wide range of operating environments. The proposed system responds to increasing user concerns about GPS vulnerability and the critical importance of accurate PNT information to support essential services and infrastructure.
“The Department of Transportation, coordinating with the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, has recognized the need to ensure that reliable PNT information remains available to support US critical infrastructure, even in case of GPS interruption,” said Joe Kennedy, president of Echo Ridge. “We are pleased to offer to USDOT a demonstration of our unique, independent assured PNT technology that can provide a dependable backup and/or complement to GPS.”