GPS Antennas for Drones & UAV

GPS antennas are essential components in unmanned and autonomous systems, enabling precise positioning and navigation by receiving signals from satellites orbiting Earth. Drone GPS antennas capture signals emitted by multiple satellites, allowing the system to calculate its exact location and make necessary navigational adjustments. In unmanned and autonomous applications, GPS antennas facilitate tasks such as autonomous driving, drone navigation, and robotic exploration by providing accurate location data for real-time decision-making and route planning without human intervention.
Overview GPS Antennas for Drones & UAV
By Staff Writer Last updated: May 16th, 2024

GPS (Global Positioning System) antennas allow UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and other unmanned and autonomous systems such as UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) and USVs (uncrewed surface vessels) to receive signals from GPS satellites that contain information that can be used for precision position, timing and navigation (PNT).

GPS is one of several global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) that are used around the world, and multi-constellation GNSS antennas may also be able to receive signals from these other systems in addition to GPS.

GPS Signals & Frequencies

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS, NavIC & L-band antennas for drones & robotics by Calian

GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS, NavIC & L-band antennas for drones & robotics by Calian

GPS signals may be broadcast on several frequencies, known as L1, L2 and L5. L1 is the oldest and most established, while L2 and L5 provide improvements that make them suitable for specific applications and conditions. GPS signals have different parts, known as codes, for civilian and military use.

Drone GPS antennas may be single-frequency or multi-frequency. Dual-band antennas will typically receive signals from L1 and L2, or L1 and L5, simultaneously. This allows them to mitigate errors caused by factors such as ionospheric delay and multipath interference, and to ensure greater availability of GPS satellite signals, thus ensuring more reliable and accurate results.

Active & Passive Drone GPS Antennas

UAV GPS antennas may be active or passive:

GAJT-710MS Single Enclosure Anti‑Jam GPS Antenna by NovAtel

GAJT-710MS Single Enclosure Anti‑Jam GPS Antenna by NovAtel

Passive GPS antennas are made up of an antenna element and in some cases extra passive components for impedance matching, and do not require a power supply.

Active antennas also utilize low-noise amplifiers (LNAs) to boost the GPS signal before it enters the receiver, which requires a power source.

Both active and passive GPS antennas can be equipped with anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities.

Embbed GPS Antennas

Rugged Helicore GNSS antennas for GPS & GLONASS by Maxtena

Rugged Helicore GNSS antennas for GPS & GLONASS by Maxtena

GPS antennas may be provided as an embedded product for OEMs and system integrators, or housed in an enclosure. They are available in a range of different types and form factors, including:

Rugged GPS antennas may be required for drones and robotic vehicles operating in challenging environments. Ruggedization features include ingress protection against water and dust, protective domes, and low-profile and flexible gooseneck or spring designs to protect against damage from snagging on obstacles.

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