Towards GNSS-less Navigation: Exploiting Terrestrial and LEO Satellite Signals of Opportunity

Today’s vehicular navigation systems extract position information from a suite of diverse and complementary onboard sensors. For example, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver provides stable absolute position information and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and other dead reckoning sensors (e.g., wheel encoders) provide short-term accurate information. After prolonged periods of GNSS signal unavailability, the position solution degrades to unsafe levels as error-corrupted dead reckoning information is integrated without correction from an absolute position information source. Vehicle-mounted sensors (e.g., cameras or lidar) can reduce IMU drift during GNSS unavailability by tracking features in the environment (e.g., walls, light poles, trees, etc.) and then inferring the vehicle’s relative motion with respect to the features via a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) framework. However, after extended periods of time without GNSS aiding corrections, the vehicles’ position estimate will still drift due to the accumulation of sensor errors (e.g., camera scale factor and lidar range errors due to dust and water particles). Over the past decade, signals of opportunity (SOPs); such as AM/FM radio, cellular, digital television, and low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite signals; have been studied and demonstrated as an effective backup or alternative source of absolute positioning information, providing corrections to an inertial navigation system (INS) in the absence of GNSS signals. SOPs possess several desirable characteristics for vehicular navigation: (1) available in most environments of interest; (2) difficult to jam all SOPs, since their signals are scattered throughout the spectrum; (3) produce low geometric dilution of precision, since their transmitters are geometrically diverse; (4) signal reception with carrier-to-noise ratio that is often tens of decibels (dBs) higher than that of GNSS signals; (5) free to use with SOP navigation receivers that do not require network subscriptions; and (6) no deployment cost, since their infrastructure is already operational and maintained by service providers. This project will study the achievable performance of GNSS-less navigation with SOPs, with a focus on cellular 5G and LEO. The study will compare the performance as a function of: (1) number of utilized transmitters (terrestrial 5G alone, LEO alone, and a fusion of both); (2) differential versus non-differential frameworks; (3) fusion with other onboard sensors; and (4) sensitivity to model mismatch.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $212882
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Center for Automated Vehicle Research with Multimodal Assured Navigation

    Ohio State University
    Columbus, OH  United States  43210
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research

    930 Kinnear Road
    Columbus, OH  United States  43212
  • Principal Investigators:

    Kassas, Zak

  • Start Date: 20241030
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240830
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01904449
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Automated Vehicle Research with Multimodal Assured Navigation
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348327
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jan 11 2024 4:07PM