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Deadline Near: DHS program for assessing GPS interference and spoofing resilience
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be running demonstrations of GPS receivers this fall to aid purchase plans from first responders, the Coast Guard and other agencies within DHS. The tests aim to clarify how well the receivers can withstand interference and spoofing when used in small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS or drones) for sea emissions.
"We're looking at what technology is available to protect our aircraft from bad guys buying wireless jammer or spoofers to hide the bad guys' location from us or to allow them to take over an aircraft," said Tim Bennett . Airborne Technologies Program Manager for the DHS Safety Science and Technology Division.
The tests are part of the Robotic Aircraft Sensor Program (RASP), which also evaluates other sensors that are available for unmanned aircraft.
The DHS now wants to collect the GPS receiver data, Bennett said. "If our boys are actually flying them, we can have this stuff already installed on the plane so we don't have to worry about them having problems."
"Flying" is the key word, said Bennett. It is important that the GPS receivers are installed and actually flown on a small drone during the demonstration. "We'll be doing on-site testing, but that's only a small part of it. More of it will be testing in the air because we know we'll have problems there."
The receiver manufacturer will provide the receiver (s) and a flight-tested drone or drones, and their team is expected to operate them during the five-day test. Sensor vendors who are not SUAS manufacturers are encouraged to work with drone companies whose platforms can use all of the functions of the sensor as per the published request for information (RFI). The team may be asked to start / restore their system from both land and ship locations, or at least demonstrate handover control of the SUAS and sensors to a water platform while it is underway.
"Safety concerns are also assessed, such as the ability of the unmanned aircraft to fly safely in the event of a loss of communication between the aircraft and the ground controller," the RFI said.
The tests are carried out against the L1, L2 and L5 bands and the UAV jammer is tested at different heights.
"We're going to start at a very great height and range and find out at what height and at what angle they (the receivers) are affected," said Bennett. "That's why it's important that they fly."
The DHS will prepare a report describing the recipients selected to participate and their performance. The Coast Guard, other components of the DHS, and first responders can access the reports to help them make purchase decisions. The reports and their less detailed summaries will not be publicly available, according to Bennett, both to protect proprietary data and to encourage open discussions between manufacturers and the government.
"We just don't give it to anyone who calls and asks," said Bennett. "We are trying to limit all distribution to state and local governments, to state and local first responders, and then to everyone within the federal government."
To encourage open discussion teams, they will individually demonstrate their skills with the DHS over a period of five days.
"When we do our demonstrations, Bennett said," I'm trying not to have another supplier around because something is going wrong and this is a learning experience for all of us. And companies that know that their competitors are watching this are less honest with us and also participate less because nobody wants to look bad in front of their competition. "
This also means that the number of companies invited to participate will necessarily be fewer.
"We're trying to keep this down to a few companies so that I can separate myself between companies so that we can have a full, open discussion about what we're doing," said Bennett.
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