NextNav showcases APNT backup to GNSS at European JRC trial

February 2, 2022  - By

NextNav logoNextNav participated in the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) alternative positioning, navigation and timing (APNT) evaluation in Ispra, Italy. At the trial, NextNav showcased an alternative PNT backup to GNSS, TerraPoiNT.

According to the JRC, the trial is analyzing the technologies “which could deliver positioning, and/or timing information, independently from GNSS, to be effective backup in the event of GNSS disruption, and if possible to be able to provide PNT in the environments where GNSS cannot be delivered.”

The test furthers the European Union’s creation of a backup to GNSS and is intended to assess which technologies could strengthen and expand the European PNT capacity.

PNT services are critical for the global economy, with studies estimating a contribution to the European GDP of approximately 10%. Today, GNSS services are the backbone of PNT, with an increasing role in new services and technologies, including car-sharing, autonomous vehicles, ship and aircraft navigation, smart logistics and precision agriculture.

It’s About Time

The timing capabilities of PNT are heavily utilized today by critical infrastructure, which is strategic from a commercial and societal perspective, including telecom, energy, finance and transportation. Published studies estimated economic losses of around 1 billion EUR per day if GNSS were unavailable.

NextNav’s TerraPoiNT trial focused on measuring the precision of timing delivery across alternate timing sources to better understand performance in GNSS-free environments — including instances of outages, spoofing and jamming. As a part of the trial, NextNav also demonstrated its capabilities in providing both indoor and outdoor z-axis vertical location.

TerraPoiNT is a system for assured PNT that uses terrestrial transmitters deployed around a service area to triangulate the location of a device. Unlike national space-based systems, the proximity of NextNav’s transmitters makes the signal strength 100,000 times that of GPS.

“The trials are part of the global trend to develop a resilience layer to space-based GPS/GNSS systems that is more secure and available,” said Ganesh Pattabiraman, NextNav CEO. “We are redefining the capabilities of APNT technologies and look forward to working with the European Commission on furthering these initiatives to build a GNSS backup layer that can deliver highly precise PNT across use-cases.”

Trials for U.S., Europe

The U.S. and countries across Europe continue to invest in both understanding and taking steps towards creating a resilient PNT layer in each nation. Participation in the JRC trial builds upon the recent evaluation of APNT technologies in the United States, including a 2021 U.S. Department of Transportation report, where TerraPoiNT was found to be the best performing APNT solution across use cases.

Further, NextNav recently created an APNT testbed in the San Francisco Bay area that was developed as part of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security demonstration used to evaluate the precision and resilience of NextNav’s TerraPoiNT network.

The JRC is expected to report results from the evaluation this spring.

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.