top of page

Comprehensive Testing and Evaluation of Resilient PNT Systems 

Project Description:  This project aims at testing the anti-jamming and anti-spoofing concepts, systems, and methods developed by CARNATIONS.  The challenge with such experimentation is that open-sky broadcasting of radio-frequency (RF) signals at Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) frequencies is illegal, even for research purposes.  In this project, we will (1) leverage existing test facilities at our academic institutions, (2) perform testing during opportunistic jamming events and during government-organized experimentations, and (3) develop new anti-interference testing capabilities. 

1.  To the extent possible, we will conduct field testing at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), the University of California Riverside (UCR)’s Innovation Corridor, and the Illinois Tech (IIT) State Street Transect.  The Virginia Smart Roads includes a 2.7-mile long highway section, a roadway connector for transitions to live traffic, the “Rural Roadway”, and a modular “Surface Street” area.  VTTI has a fleet of highly automated vehicles, equipped with multiple sensors and V2X communication systems.  UCR’s Innovation Corridor is available for testing in live traffic. Illinois Tech has created a full GNSS and LiDAR map of a 6-mile-long transect of State Street in Chicago, IL.  The density of transportation systems provides a complex framework in which to investigate navigation performance for various transportation scenarios. 

We will use the VTTI vehicle platforms to test the resilient positioning navigation and timing (R-PNT) solutions developed by CARNATIONS. We will use the Smart Roads to test and evaluate the connected PNT defenses. At UCR’s Innovation Corridor, we will investigate ways to limit attacks to a connected vehicle fleet by generating surrogate, simulated PNT jamming and spoofing without broadcasting at protected frequencies.  We perform similar research at IIT’s State Street transect in an urban area after having carefully monitored State Street’s RF environment. 

2.  We have developed and tested a method to predict live jamming alongside highways.  We analyzed months of RF data over hundreds of sites near highways where we routinely observe jammers from personal privacy devices (PPDs). PPDs are employed by road users to disable GPS trackers.  Jamming tends to coincide with truck delivery schedules.  We will use these predictable events to test RFI detectors and localizers.   

Field tests with RFI are desirable, and we will continue to utilize opportunities with partners in the Department of Defense (DOD), such as Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), such as the GPS Testing for Critical Infrastructure (GET-CI), when available.  We attended DHS’ 2017 and 2021 GET-CI.  

3.  The VTTI Rural Roadway is located in an isolated valley surrounded by hundreds of acres of forest and overlooked by a bridge – an ideal location for contained radio-frequency (RF)  emissions with limited collateral interference using directional, downward-pointing antennas. We will explore partnerships with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other competent authorities to research whether creation of such a unique RF interference (RFI) testbed at VTTI is possible.  

US DOT Priorities:  This research project directly targets the US DOT’s research priority area of Reducing Transportation Cybersecurity Risks.  In parallel to finding innovative ways to mitigate attacks to PNT in advanced transportation systems, we must develop new testing capabilities.  We will be investigating new experimental means of evaluating the performance of resilient PNT (R-PNT) systems and strategies without risking to interfere with other GNSS user equipment.  Testing is required to validate research contributions and it is relevant to transportation industry partners willing to evaluate R-PNT equipment. 

Outputs:  In this cross-cutting project, we will perform: 

  • Testing of R-PNT solutions at VTTI, UCR, and IIT using their vehicle fleets. 

  • Evaluations of mitigation strategies that include community alerts and localized contingency plans. 

  • Safe testing of resilient solutions by incorporating software-simulated elements, participating in military and government RFI experiments, and leveraging known live jamming events, and potentially developing a new RFI testbed at VTTI for the evaluation of R-PNT solutions 

Outcomes/Impacts:  Testing is instrumental to validate emerging PNT technology for surface transportation applications.  The aim of this project is to develop testing methods and protocols that enable experimental validation of anti-jamming and anti-spoofing techniques without risking to disrupt other GNSS users.  The results of this project will be shared with the DOT, GNSS researchers, industry, and standardization bodies.  

Final Research Report:  (Upon completion of the project we will a provide link to the final report.)  

bottom of page