British scientists have built the world’s first quantum ‘compass’ — a tamper-proof navigation device that does not rely on GPS, after millions of pounds of funding from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The device, the first commercial instrument of its kind, can help pinpoint the exact location of anything on Earth in a way that cannot be interfered with, because it does not rely on external satellites.
“It’s completely self-contained,” said Joseph Cotter, a researcher at the Centre for Cold Matter at Imperial College, which built the device. “It’s particularly useful if you want to navigate a large ship or autonomous vehicles over long periods of time, without having to send or receive any other signals to know where you are.”
The MoD has been pumping money into building an independent navigation device. It sees particular use for it on its nuclear submarines, which need to navigate with stealth and remain isolated from the outside world.
Although GPS is the de facto global navigation system, its reliance on space satellites means it can be blocked, intercepted or masked. (end of excerpt)
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