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Seen & Heard: Moscow taxis hacked, Norway turns to radar

September 21, 2022  - By

“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry.


Photo: Space Norway

Photo: Space Norway

Norway to get radar assist

Norway’s sea areas are seven times larger than its land area. Now the country is creating a radar satellite system to surveil and locate ships in waters of interest, including the High North. On Aug. 25, Space Norway signed contracts with vendors to build the MicroSAR system, which will launch in 2025. Plans are to make a constellation of radar satellites that can detect small vessels in a large area simultaneously. While the system will use GNSS for orbit tracking, the radar function is independent of GNSS during acquisition. This will solve a flaw in the Automatic Identification System (AIS) now used for maritime surveillance — estimates are that 5% of vessels either do not send out AIS information or are transmitting false information.


Photo: Yandex

Photo: Yandex

Russia’s driverless autos hit the brakes

Russian driverless projects are facing hurdles following the invasion of Ukraine, reports TU-Automotive. For instance, Russian IT giant Yandex had hoped to launch robo-taxis in the United States but has suspended street tests and robotic delivery pilots and laid off employees in its U.S. office. Russian freight carriers are experiencing a shortage of new vehicles and spare parts from Western trade sanctions and countermeasures by the Russian government. Meanwhile, Russia’s pilot tests of connected road infrastructure are still taking place, according to V2X vendor Sreda Software Solutions.


Nathaniel Frissell and team. (Photo: University of Scranton)

Nathaniel Frissell and team. (Photo: University of Scranton)

Bunches of grapes

A University of Scranton collaborative research project will use daily Doppler shift receiver measurements to study how dawn, dusk and solar eclipses affect the ionosphere. The team, led by Nathaniel Frissell, will use a network of GNSS-stabilized and synchronized high-frequency receivers known as Grapes, developed as part of another National Science Foundation project in 2019. The last solar eclipses to traverse the continental United States until 2044 will occur Oct. 14, 2023 and April 8, 2024. “This project takes advantage of the unprecedented opportunity to study the ionospheric impacts of the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses and the daily ionospheric variability associated with dawn/dusk transitions,” Frissell said. A better understanding of the effects of ionospheric disturbances is imperative, because the changes affect GNSS navigation and communications systems.


Screenshot: Anonymous TV

Screenshot: Anonymous TV

Moscow navigation fail

The hacker collective Anonymous managed to disrupt Yandex’s Moscow taxi fleet on Sept. 1, sending dozens of taxis to an address on Kutuzovsky Prospekt. The hacking caused a two-hour traffic jam in the center of Moscow near the Stalinist-era building Hotel Ukraina (Hotel Ukraine), now a Radisson. Hackers likely bypassed Yandex’s safety measures, creating multiple fake orders that prompted drivers to simultaneously go to the same location.

About the Author:


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.

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