The Research Laboratory for Navigation Autonomous Systems (ASPIN) of the University of California carried out a study aimed at identify a highly reliable technology, different from the current satellite systems, capable of meeting the stringent requirements of the driverless vehicles as they prepare to invade the streets in the near future.

The team, led by Professor Zak Kassas, has decided to develop a precise navigation system using the inputs transmitted by existing technologies such as Wi-Fi antennas, TV towers and cellular mobile radio network, set Signals Of Opportunity (SOP) . The navigation system currently uses three satellites: the American (GPS), Russian (GLONASS) and European (Galileo); this system has some shortcomings due to poorly performing signal by itself, to the frequent interference with other signals and the low level of security, since the signals are transmitted in the clear.

By using and coordinating the SOP is therefore possible to define a specific route by resorting to the multiple radio signals spread in the environment so as to make the path of the vehicles to safer autonomous driving. To do it the group of scholars has decided to rely on specific software (SDR) based on algorithms that can extract information ordered by the radio waves that permeate a particular place.

The navigation based on SOP signals can be a completely stand-alone system or be positioned next to the existing satellite system to make the latter far more accurate, something that already happens (even at a basic level than this implementation) with smartphones, employing over to GPS also Wi-fi or the cellular network for a more precise signal.

The widespread use of autonomous driving vehicles inevitably constitute a socio-cultural revolution – said Kassas. Our primary goal is to make these means can operate without the help man for long periods of time . “ the research will involve more than the cars also drones and other types of media to be used in expeditions, rescue, surveillance and mapping of the territory.