Project Sentinel research reveals use of GPS jammer in UK

Project Sentinel research reveals use of GPS jammer in UK

GPS jammers are believed to be used primarily by people driving vehicles equipped with tracking devices in order to mask where they are.

At one location, the Sentinel study recorded more than 60 GPS jamming incidents in six months.

The research follows concerns that jammers could interfere with critical systems that rely on GPS.

The team behind the research believe this is the first study of its kind in the UK.

Its findings will be presented at the GNSS Vulnerability 2012: Present Danger, Future Threats conference held Wednesday at the National Physics Laboratory.

road watch
The Sentinel research project used 20 roadside monitors to detect the use of jammers

"We believe it is the only system of its kind in the world," Bob Cockshott of the ICT Knowledge Transfer Network and organizer of the conference told the BBC.

The sensors recorded each time a vehicle with a jammer passed.

"We believe there are between 50 and 450 occurrences in the UK every day," said Charles Curry of Chronos Technology, the company leading the project, while stressing that they were still analyzing the data.

He told the BBC that evidence from the project suggested most jammers were small, handheld devices with an area of ​​effect between 200 and 300 metres.

The project received £1.5m funding from the Technology Strategy Board and involved a number of partners including the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Mr Curry said the search also led to the detection and confiscation by police of a jammer.

New 4 Antennas Portable Mini GSM/GPS Jammer

"We detected a pattern and they [police] were able to go sit and wait," he said.

Mr Curry said the research also found that the jammers were responsible for the interference experienced by Ordnance Survey equipment.

GPS jammers are widely available online, one of the reasons Mr Cockshott believes the law on jammers needs to be tightened up.

He thinks Project Sentinel should now work to develop systems that will help catch those using jammers.

"The next step is to further develop the system so it can be used for enforcement, so you can detect a jammer in use and then link it to the pilot using it," he said. -he declares.

Car headlight
Logistics and other companies often install GPS trackers to track vehicle movements.

They are also used to track vehicles carrying valuable loads.

Researchers believe that most GPS jammer are used to prevent these devices from working.

"A GPS satellite doesn't put out more power than a car headlight, and with that it has to illuminate half of the Earth's surface," Professor David Last, former president of the Royal Institute of Science, told the BBC. Navigation.

“A very, very low power jammer that transmits on the same radio frequency as the GPS will drown it out.

"Most of them are used by people who don't want their vehicles tracked," he said.

But jamming technology can cause problems for other safety-critical systems using GPS.

In mobile phones and power grids, GPS satellite signals are sometimes used as a source of accurate timing information.

GPS is even used to provide accurate time information for certain computerized transactions in financial markets.

And other GPS navigation devices used by ships and light aircraft could also be affected by jammers.

In 2009, Newark Airport in the United States found that some of its GPS-based systems were experiencing repeated interference.

The problem was eventually traced to a truck driver using a GPS jammer.