Re: Had to be said.
Damn, you beat me to it! I came here to post something very similar (though it might have mentioned a certain Boris J by name).
British boffins have developed a self-contained and tamper-proof "quantum compass" that doesn't rely on GPS signals to provide a highly accurate measure of where it is in the world. The compass is a quantum accelerometer that is capable of measuring tiny shifts in supercooled atoms and so calculate how far and how fast the …
What makes you think it's restricted to the UK?
As I'm not British either, I felt it best to be carefully non-specific.
And just about anything to do with Donald Trump.
It seems to be endemic to the breed anywhere around the world.
(I'm an equal opportunity cynic.)
This is what it is:
Maybe it is supposed to be better than the existing ones due to the quantum thing, but for mow it is two orders of magnitude larger than what is commercially available.
Which is good.
Yes it needs to shrink several orders of magnitude.
Yes it needs to operate in 3 dimensions.
But it'll still be a damm sight cheaper than the UK launching it's own GPS system, which is basically post Brexit willy waving.
No it won't. One set of birds will serve however many users. This needs one per user.
There is a big number of users....times the cost per each of these.
The rest, well...I agree with the willy waving part.
and it will work on other planets & maybe in space & higher gravity.
Noted above: It is a part of a system not the full system that would need to maintain a starting point reference, & by adding extra planes for 3 dimensions X,Y,Z of movement & would provide rotational measurement functionality.
A great beginning !
'Also I'm assuming that even a brief interruption would be pretty dire.'
As long as it stores where it was when the interruption happened it shouldn't be too bad depending on how fast you're going. You could just reinitialise it at you're last known position, you'd then have a circle of error based on how far you could have gone in the time you didn't know where you were.
As the atoms move, their wave properties are affected by the acceleration of the vehicle. The optical ruler can measure these minute changes very accurately and then with a few relatively simple equations it is possible to figure out exactly where you are.
Great stuff. I suppose that if you know where you already are then you can determine your angular acceleration with regard to the centre of the Earth and your overall acceleration with regard to that of the Earth around the Sun. Obviously I can see that one might be overwhelmed by the other, but it'd be nice to know for certain how this factors out in a fortnight's time.
From the article:
>A phone's GPS accurate to roughly 15 feet, although military GPS devices can be accurate to centimeters.
Can we please drop these gross misunderstandings? Please? Or is this par for the course when the word boffins is being thrown around? It is not as if these mistakes have not been pointed out earlier.
Nice cable ties there on your helmholtz coils... would be a shame if something happened to them...
like slipping, vibrating or slacking due to thermal variations. Guess we won't get anything better than maybe +- 2% accuracy like this ? =( ;^P)
About that 'compass' comparison: Velocity has magnitude and orientation, and is defined as length by time - therefore if (and only if) those accelerometers are reeeally precise, getting a compass-like direction out of a relative position change measurement is a mere subtraction and division away. Zero problemo.
Trying that calculation with our everyday axe-celery-metres of a jesus-phone would leave one spinning erratically, hence the additional gryo-accelerometers in our phones.
Since we can just buy a (quantum interference, so there !) laser gyro compass, the compass part of that thing is moot anyhow - And as long as said boffins don't get better linear accelerometry than, say, a contemporary gravimeter, said gps part goes down the drain, too.
Just my arrogant (yeah, I studied physics, sorry) 2 cents 'bout that contraption.
Do you actually believe that, for even a fraction of a second?
This is boilerplate BS, tacked onto the end of most "defence" tech announcements to foster the illusion that it will have some use other than killing us all faster.
Also, please consider the actual meaning of the word autonomous. An autonomous car is unlikely to ever be useful to people.
It isn't a compass. It's a new method for implementing the venerable concept of an inertial guidance system, which is itself simply a technological form of dead reckoning practised since the first manned boat got lost in poor visibility 11,174 years ago.
Inertial navigation systems are still very important to submarines (such as boomers, spending long periods under water and unable to receive GPS) and I might guess that they would be the first operational priority for this new tech, given that its early-version mass and size won't be prohibitve in a sub, compared with a missile or an aircraft.
It will be extremely interesting to see how the noise problem will be managed. With mechanical weaknesses such as friction removed (it is a core problem of current INS tech), the sensitivity of the new system is both advantage and disadvantage. There will need to be some clever design in dealing with local mascons, determining honest-vs-deceitful frames of reference, multi-axis rotation and relativistic effects—the latter cease to be ignorable when you're finely analysing the performance of kit which may accelerate at 100g, moving in three spatial dimensions, potentially rotating around one or all of those as well, and reaching speeds in the miles per second range¹.
It'll be even more interesting to see what kinds of countermeasures might work against such a system. I'm guessing local EMP would banjax it thoroughly, as would an x-ray laser, not to mention finely tuned peppering by minute chunks of high-velocity debris (strikes by waves of microgram particles timed to arrive in a sequence to ensure destructive interference). That said, if you can shoot close enough to achieve that, you're probably close enough for a kinetic kill anyway ...
¹ Consider that even the 1960s Sprint ABM had incredible performance at this level, and furthermore that a rapidly spinning missile is one obvious countermeasure against laser strikes.)
Just in time.Aircraft in Norway / Finland had GPS knocked out last week by an intruder, so military sexercise and all civilian aircraft had to navigate independent of GPS. probably absolutely necessary for nuclear subs, which have a very accurate known starting point
> had to navigate independent of GPS
Most Norwegian should know how to navigate by the sun or by the stars, use map and compass, sailing a ship by light houses at night (the crew at Helge Ingstad was probably drunk) or use any of the numerous ways of navigating between sails first were hoisted and the introduction of GPS.
Finland and Norway has national service where you would learn these things if you didn't know how beforehand.
But isn't the North Sea notoriously stormy, meaning celestial AND terrestrial visibility was bad, your ship would regularly be tossed around off course, AND there's the risk of a lightning bolt throwing off your compass?
'But isn't the North Sea notoriously stormy, meaning celestial AND terrestrial visibility was bad, your ship would regularly be tossed around off course, AND there's the risk of a lightning bolt throwing off your compass?'
Presumably why no one went anywhere by boat until the invention of GPS...
"Presumably why no one went anywhere by boat until the invention of GPS..."
OR...presumably why there were lots of errors and shipwrecks until one had a better idea of one's location in such tempestuous waters...
'OR...presumably why there were lots of errors and shipwrecks until one had a better idea of one's location in such tempestuous waters...'
Yeah, that was pretty much cracked pre-GPS though, if you're out of sight of land you don't need GPS level accuracy and if you're in sight of land visual fixing is more than good enough.
For example, humans had no difficulties moving from one speck of an island to another in the Pacific long before even magnetic compasses made it to that part of the world. See Polynesian navigation in your encyclopedia of choice.
I recall reading a few months ago there had been a UK Gov report into the vulnerabilities of GPS (it's not just navigation - GPS timing signals are used for all sorts of scary things like synchronising electrical grid frequencies and regulating frequency slicing on the mobile phone networks). The conclusion was that jamming or solar events leading to a loss of GPS would have potentially catastrophic effects on modern life.
They suggested a number of solutions, one of which was eLORAN . Basically an update of the old LORAN navigation network used until the mid 90s it would provide both location and timing (whilst many other GPS alternatives only do one or the other) whilst being virtually impossible to jam due to the much lower frequencies used. Unfortunately a trial a few years ago was kyboshed when other European countries turned off their transmitters (rumour has it there was pressure from the Commission not to support tech which could rival Galileo), so there's currently only one transmitter running (enough to support timing but not location, which needs multiple transmitters).
Setting up a chain of eLORAN transmitters would have the same utility as a British GPS system and would be considerably cheaper!
Bad news is the subspace quantum nuclear magnetic flux buggers up mechanical *and* digital watches, so while you might know exactly where you are, you won't ever be able to calculate your average speed over the orienteering course.
I had a pedometer once. I switched it on and walked twelve miles. I checked the output on the device while celebrating in the pub and it correctly showed I had two feet.
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