Satellites are vulnerable to interference from external forces, navigating without them would negate this risk.
A new quantum accelerator that could allow for navigation without satellites is being developed by scientists at Imperial College London.
The new standalone quantum accelerometer is untraceable and does not need external signals for navigation.
Funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s Future Sensing and Situational Awareness Programme, scientists hope it will be a commercially viable alternative to GPS.
“This is a device for navigating,” explains Professor Edward Hinds. “But it’s a way of navigating without needing talk to any satellites or external parties.
"And that’s a very useful thing to be able to do because… it’s actually very easy for someone who wants to cause trouble to block the satellite system and then you don’t know where you are.”
Currently most navigations, whether military or civilian, rely on a global navigation satellite system.
However, concerns have been raised about the current system’s vulnerability to attack; last year NATO officials accused Russia of deliberately disrupting GPS signals during a military exercise.
Economists have also raised concerns, estimating that were these systems to fail or be blocked, the cost to the British economy alone could be £1 billion a day.
“If you want to go on a mission which requires you to travel for some length of time and not give away your position by communicating with satellites… Just to travel quietly without giving away your position, you can do that with this device,” Professor Hinds adds.