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DOD tasks Orbital Insight to help identify intentional GNSS disruptions

February 10, 2022  - By

A new platform will detect and characterize GNSS spoofing operations using artificial intelligence and commercially available data

Geospatial intelligence company Orbital Insight has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to deliver a technology platform for identifying intentional GNSS interference and manipulation operations across the world.

The platform will leverage commercially available data to detect GNSS spoofing, where falsified or manipulated GNSS signals are used to confuse adversaries or obscure illicit activities, presenting risk to both government and commercial operations. Orbital Insight was selected through DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) solicitation process seeking commercial solutions to counter the growing threat of GNSS disruptions to national security.

Research suggests that Russia conducted nearly 10,000 spoofing operations from 2016 to 2018 alone.

The new technology will significantly improve situational awareness for warfighters, intelligence analysts and safety-of-life applications. Orbital Insight’s platform will leverage its multisensor data stack, artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities to alert analysts and operators to potential jamming and spoofing events, techniques commonly used by adversarial actors to cover up activities or sabotage operations.

The platform leverages a suite of geolocation data — satellites, AIS, ADS-B and internet-of-things devices — along with new advanced algorithms designed to automatically recognize anomalies linked to spoofing, complemented by research intelligence from the nonprofit partner Center for Advanced Defense Studies. Research suggests that Russia conducted nearly 10,000 spoofing operations from 2016 to 2018 alone.

“Helping organizations understand what’s happening on and to the Earth is at the heart of what Orbital Insight does, and spoofing is a national security problem that has proven challenging to solve,” said Kevin O’Brien, CEO, Orbital Insight. “GNSS spoofing is essentially a data problem, and Orbital Insight’s AI and deep data stack can help identify spoofing, along with other major humanitarian and environmental challenges. This is a perfect example of private and public sectors uniting through technology.”

Other areas that may be addressed: identifying drug trafficking, illegal fishing, sea-borne piracy and unintentional commercial aviation disruptions

The technology has broad implications that extend beyond situational awareness of intentional GNSS interference. Other national security, humanitarian and environmental challenges may be addressed, such as identifying drug trafficking, illegal fishing, sea-borne piracy and unintentional commercial aviation disruptions.

Federal agencies are increasingly complementing their systems with commercial technology and data sources that are unclassified, universally accessible, and shareable with allies. The National Air and Space Intelligence Center will be the first customer to utilize the technology. Upon successful integration, the goal will be to expand this platform widely across the defense, intelligence and civil communities.

Orbital Insight received the DoD contract on the heels of announcing a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to deliver a computer-vision model that uses synthetic data to detect novel classes of objects.

The company also recently launched a new class of multiclass object-detection algorithms within its flagship GO platform to help the intelligence community monitor and differentiate activity at thousands of areas of interest. Like all of Orbital Insight’s products, these algorithms are being developed within an ethics framework that shapes the company’s work and values privacy.

Image: matejmo/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: matejmo/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.