MicroPilot, a developer of autopilots for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), has selected Spirent Communications, a provider of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) testing solutions, to help enhance the location accuracy and positioning resilience of its devices.
MicroPilot engineering teams are using Spirent’s GSS9000 GNSS simulator to quickly verify their designs to offer end users accurate positioning regardless of location. To deliver this performance, MicroPilot is using multiple-antenna systems and required a simulator that can support these features and provide high speed simulation.
“Our customers demand products that are reliable and built to a high standard; and as UASs become more widely used their location and motion accuracy are becoming important issues,” said Howard W. Loewen, President of MicroPilot. “MicroPilot systems use GPS to navigate accurately, so we need to rigorously verify this functionality. The Spirent simulators have the performance to meet our most demanding use cases.”
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are heavily dependent on satellite-based positioning technology, such as GPS, so testing of the vehicle’s positioning capabilities must be thorough, rigorous and broad, to ensure that as wide a range as possible of potential real-world conditions has been applied. This is only possible with a test program that incorporates lab-based simulation.
“We are very pleased to be helping MicroPilot improve the development of its lightweight UAVs”, said Martin Foulger, General Manager of Spirent’s Positioning Business Unit. “As drones, UASs and other unmanned vehicles proliferate, more manufacturers are looking to create better performing systems with shorter development cycles. Using a Spirent GNSS simulator not only reduces the time and cost of testing, but also allows for a wide range of conditions, including GPS spoofing and jamming, to be tested repeatedly and rigorously.”
MicroPilot is using Spirent’s GSS9000 to develop new systems, while the GSS6300 simulator is verifying positioning performance during manufacturing.
The GSS9000 GPS/GNSS simulator is a highly advanced GNSS/GPS test solution, used to verify the most demanding applications where sub-millimeter accuracy is needed, or if systems have full mobility (six degrees of freedom) or accurate high dynamic (1000Hz update rate) needs. True hardware-in-the-loop applications (via acceptance of external vehicle motion data in real time) can also be tested.
With GPS signal usage – and interference – growing, the GSS9000 is also an effective tool to help increase the resilience of GPS receivers to withstand deliberate or accidental jamming.