Innovative Challenge :: Zero-GPS Precision Navigation

AWARD: $10,000 USD | DEADLINE: 3/30/14 | ACTIVE SOLVERS: 285 | POSTED: 2/28/14
Source: InnoCentive Challenge ID: 9933055 Type: Ideation

Detailed Description & Requirements
GPS is clearly one of the major forms of navigation. GPS operates globally, allowing for advances in performance throughout the transportation sector. Today, everything from vehicles to airplanes to ships, and even cell phones include a GPS capability. While GPS affords many benefits in terms of ease of use and providing accurate knowledge of position and speed, it is not without its limitations. GPS satellite signals can be blocked by man-made and natural phenomenon such as weather, geographic features, and electromagnetic interference. In addition, satellite networks are not 100 percent reliable and are subject to disruptions from malicious acts or natural disasters/phenomenon. We seek a solution to provide a robust zero-GPS precision navigation capability that can be automated in a system (i.e. not a manual system)
The Seeker expects to prototype winning designs; successful Solvers may be invited to engage in the design/prototyping process.

A number of non-GPS systems are currently in use; however, none meets the requirement to operate in all environments. (e.g. tunnels, bad weather conditions, occluded sky, etc.)
We’ve looked at numerous approaches using various mixes of technology that are designed to step up to the plate when GPS falls short. Navatar and Casio’s EX-H20G camera rely on a compass, accelerometers and pre-loaded maps. Smartsense and IndoorAtlas track a user’s movement through the Earth’s magnetic field in combination with accelerometers and indoor maps, while UnLoc detects “invisible landmarks” to locate users. All of these dead reckoning methods are relatively accurate for short distances, but inaccurate for longer distances as errors accumulate over time. To overcome this, the user must build an annotated virtual representation of the environment to correct for the errors.
We are aware of the DARPA TIMU effort and are looking for other methods of precision navigation. The TIMU combines a six-axis IMU (three gyroscopes and three accelerometers) and a highly accurate master clock in a single chip consisting of six micro-fabricated layers and integrates devices, materials and designs from DARPA’s Micro-PNT program. The resulting device measures just 10 cubic millimeters and is considered robust enough for use in “personnel tracking, handheld navigation, small diameter munitions and airborne platforms.” This system fills in when the GPS is blocked, but is not designed to operate stand alone. It also cannot meet the accuracy required over a 72 hour period.

We seek a proof-of-concept solution for a robust zero-GPS precision navigation capability. We will accept solutions for any platform, but will give preference to those that can operate seamlessly between multiple platforms (i.e., vehicles, airplanes, ships, etc.). Additionally, there is no preferred technical approach; however, limitations (e.g., weather, terrain for ground transportation, etc.) will be an evaluation factor. All proposals must identify assumptions made and perceived limitations of the proposed solution.
Submissions to this Challenge should try to meet the following Technical Requirements:
The following are minimum performance characteristics:
1. Solutions cannot utilize GPS at any point and must be automated.
2. Solutions cannot require pre-positioning of equipment of any type.
3. Provide accurate position information This can be absolute geolocation or relative to known starting, intermediate, and ending points. We are looking for a system that can be accurate within 10 meters after either a 350 mile trip or after 72 hours of continuous use.
4. Size, Weight and Power that are commensurate with the intended platform and its function (e.g. car could have larger power and weight allowances than if it was man-packable).

The following are desirable but not mandatory performance characteristics:
1. Usable during both the day and at night.
2. Usable during adverse weather conditions and cloud cover.
3. Usable inside structures like buildings and tunnels.
4. Ability to seamlessly integrate capability into any mode of transportation.
Project Criteria
This is an Ideation Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. At least one solution will be deemed the winner.
The submission should include:
1. Detailed description of a system for precision navigation.
2. Underlying principle on how the system would work.
3. Estimates of the errors under adverse conditions.
4. Detailed description of how any additional “nice to have” qualities listed above in the Detailed Description may be integrated into the system.
5. A candid list of limitations of the system (e.g., weight limits, size limits, expected modes of failure, etc.) along with any strategies to mitigate these limitations.

Submitted proposals should not include any personal identifying information the Solvers do not want to make public, or any information the Solvers may consider as their Intellectual Property they do not want to share.
This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:
• There is a guaranteed award. The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,000.
• The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker. Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solvers grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submitted a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.



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