PrecisionHawk, U of Toronto partner on jammed UAV GPS solutions

By Emily Aasand | March 17, 2015

PrecisionHawk and the University of Toronto announced a collaboration to develop solutions for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the event of GPS loss or jam. The partnership, known as Project Breadcrumb, will aid UAV travel when all other communications or navigation systems are lost.

“As we work to mitigate the risk of operating small UAVs in the national airspace, one of the key concerns come from the possibility of losing GPS signal or GPS interference,” said Ernest Earon, president and co-founder of PrecisionHawk. “The University of Toronto has an excellent research history in navigation and control in GPS-denied environments, like space, where technology needs to know where it is and where it needs to go without a GPS signal.”  

Project Breadcrumb will be developed as a component of PrecisionHawk’s low altitude tracking and avoidance system (LATAS) and will be applicable on any UAV platform. LATAS provides flight planning, tracking and sense and avoidance to each UAV that flies within the National Airspace System. The LATAS system is platform agnostic-based on existing world-wide cellular networks, which means it’s applicable on any UAV platform from large military aircraft to small hobbyist quad-copters, across the country regardless of autopilot make and model, PrecisionHawk said. With this system, each UAV will transmit its location and altitude to the ground in real time. That information is then sent to air traffic controllers and pilots in aircraft cockpits.

Project Breadcrumb will be developed in two phases by University of Toronto researchers and their students at the Institute for Aerospace Studies in partnership with PrecisionHawk’s engineering team. University of Toronto professors on the project have made significant contributions in the area of long-term autonomous robot navigation in GPS-denied, outdoor environments and reliable navigation under disturbances.


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