17 October 2017

Military Works On Plan B If GPS Navigation Fails

The U.S. Army is working on "systems that combine cameras with inertial measurement units, or IMU, which are made of sensors such as gyroscopes and accelerometers. By joining this sensor data to a camera’s visual feedback, a soldier would be able to navigate effectively, even without GPS."

The idea is that you start from a known location (your last GPS ping), and then keep track of how far you've moved in each direction, while calibrating drift in your inertial measurements by using cameras to compare landmarks and landforms to what should be there is the IMU is on track.

While this is a military development, there's no obvious reason that similar capabilities couldn't be put in a small unit that would communicate via Bluetooth with your civilian smartphone where the camera element and "brains" of the system could be housed.

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