Tech Predictions for Simulation & Positioning, Navigation and Timing in 2022 by Spirent Communications

GNSS Simulation plays a very important role in accurate positioning, navigation and timing as it is the primary tool for testing the GNSS based equipment. This article presents the Simulation & PNT Predictions and what it holds for the coming year 2022 from Guy Buesnel, PNT Security Technologist, and Jeremy Bennington, VP of PNT Assurance, at Spirent Communications.

Guy Buesnel and Jeremy predict about Simulation & PNT in Autonomous navigation and drone industry, positioning authentication and high-accuracy augmented positioning services.

Predictions from Guy Buesnel, PNT Security Technologist:

2022 will see a revolution in high-accuracy augmented positioning services. 

Positioning services like GPS have proven enormously useful, even with the accuracy of today’s technologies in the sub-meter range. In 2022, we will see new efforts from chipset providers and OEMs to offer high-accuracy augmented positioning services to enable centimetric accuracy, as well as improve the reliability of PNT signals. Those efforts will focus around two technology innovations. Today, Differential GPS (DGPS), providers use Observation Space Representation (OSR) to enable higher-accuracy models and greatly reduce atmospheric ranging errors common to GPS/GNSS. The use of State Space Representation (SSR) in Precise Point Positioning (PPP) solutions will deliver more accurate clock and satellite orbital data in real time, also reducing errors. In some cases, providers will combine OSR and SSR techniques to deliver centimetric accuracy for a variety of applications, including surveying, mapping, precision agriculture, asset management, UAV, construction, robotics, and more—applications that traditional GPS is just not accurate enough to support. Expect companies that currently provide Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) services to offer augmented services, as well as new entrants into this market, as incumbent operators add these capabilities to their existing portfolios, particularly for the IoT application segment. 

We will also see growing focus on technologies that enable positioning authentication and proof of location. 

As global transport routes and supply chains continue to recover from the shocks of COVID-19, we are seeing a growing focus on the need to ensure more integrity in GPS/GNSS data. Early examples will include uptake of authentication schemes like the GalileoOpen Service Navigation Message Authentication (OSNMA)and the CHIMERA authentication scheme being developed for GPS. In their efforts to reduce carbon footprint and verify the provenance of goods (such as, for example, to reduce illegal fishing), the supply chain sector will be looking to authentication technologies like these to provide proof of positioning and to enable more efficient trajectories. Of course, authentication technologies like these can also be useful to combat GPS jamming and spoofing in military and aviation contexts.  Ultimately, we expect authenticated position and trajectory history will become core components of any PNT service, and that shift starts in 2022.

Predictions from Jeremy Bennington, VP of PNT Assurance:

Drones will take a decisive step forward. 

Up until now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has required U.S. drone operators maintain line of sight to any unmanned aircraft. Now, the FAA has published its Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) architecture recommendation—the agency’s first step towards regulatory policy in this area, and one of the first major steps worldwide in enabling BVLOS piloting anywhere. This architecture recommendation will set the trajectory of the drone industry going into the next policy cycle. From an industry perspective, expect to see at least eight different companies get their air taxis in the sky in 2022. And look for growing drone use cases next year in package delivery, medical delivery, public safety, search and rescue, and more. And all of these advances will be enabled by improvements in GNSS/GPS accuracy we’ve been discussing, as well as the ability to combat GNSS jamming and spoofing. 

Autonomous navigation will really get off the ground.  

There are several challenges facing full autonomy, and some of these are  — perhaps – no closer to being resolved.  There will be some noteworthy steps forward however.  First, Advance Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) will continue to rise in significance and feature set, widening its reality in production vehicles.  Second, autonomous vehicle developers and operators will be able to access a broadening set of tools, technologies and services to address the safety and viability concerns of operating in densely populated locations.  GNSS forecasting, combined with enhanced sensors models and simulation will give businesses the confidence they need to operate in specified places at specified times, hugely increasing the safety and mission potential of ground-breaking services proposed by the likes of Wing, Joby, Wish, Gatik, etc.  When this situational awareness is coupled with significant improvements in multi-sensor positioning/fusion engines we will see systems with the capacity to both avoid and overcome the challenges that threaten progress .