The maritime industry has been reliant on using GNSS systems for decades, most significantly GPS. We use it every day onboard vessels, whether it is position fixing or integrated onboard our current bridge systems. However, there are more practical forms of navigation. It is flawed with errors and prone to cyber-attack, with people being able to interfere with the system. The American Department of Defence owns GPS. Therefore, they can turn it off at any given moment. It is predicted that the UK would lose out on around 1 billion dollars per day for a week, should this happen. Therefore, finding a new navigation system is a priority for many sectors. Quantum navigation is the way forward, with hardly any limitations, cannot be turned off or hacked into, and is incredibly accurate. This report shall look at the current GPS systems in place and explore quantum navigation to see the recent works taking place and whether it is an option for the future of navigation.
Global Position Systems
In 1957, the Soviet Union placed the very first satellite in space, which led to the Global Positioning System (GPS) creation. This is a satellite-based tracking technology which can be used on the road, at sea or in the air. Although there were 5 Global Navigation Satellite Systems that used to be operational, today, the main form of GNSS is GPS. GPS satellites feature atomic clocks. The time information is extremely accurate and broadcasts codes by the satellite so that the receiver can continuously determine the time the signal was broadcast. This signal contains data that a receiver uses to compute satellites’ locations to make adjustments needed to get the most accurate positioning. The receiver uses the time difference between the signal and the broadcast time to determine the distance or range from the receiver to the satellite. The user needs to have access to at least four satellites that transmit their data to them to gain the most accurate position, which allows them to see their latitude, longitude, altitude, and time.
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