Geo-registration when GPS fails?
USAF is pursuing a 'GPS-Challenged Navigation and Geo-Registration Solution' for precise navigation when GNSS is lost.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a 'Phase-3' navigation system related contract from the USAF Research Laboratory to continue improving geo-registration accuracy for positioning and pointing applications - even in GPS-denied conditions.
In the first 2 phases of the 'Maintain Accurate Geo-registration via Image-nav Compensation' (MAGIC) programme, Northrop Grumman integrated geo-registration algorithms in a vision-aided inertial navigation system.
Having successfully demonstrated a prototype system and prepared for flight tests, the company now will continue to develop capabilities for incorporating 3-D maps, improving performance and quantifying uncertainties associated with image-based navigation in Phase 3 - as well as conducting additional test flights to prove real-time performance in realistic environments.
Geo-registration of images involves pairing unreferenced images with the physical locations or exact coordinates of depicted items - this allows aircraft to create accurate maps by stitching together photos and correlating them with their world-based locations, which is useful for intelligence gathering and targeting. It is also critical for the likes of locating targets and handing off coordinates to other aircraft.
MAGIC's objective is to develop and demonstrate advanced real-time geo-registration and navigation algorithms using a combination of cameras, an inertial measurement unit and any available GPS information. It aims to capitalise on recent advances in low size, weight, power and cost camera systems that make the inclusion of camera information in navigation and geo-registration systems for airborne vehicles a significant opportunity.
Details from Northrop Grumman below . .