2006 Fellow

Presented to: Dr. Duncan B. Cox, Jr.

Citation: For his leadership and technical innovations in the development of inertial, GPS, and integrated navigation systems, and for his service to the Institute of Navigation.


Dr. Duncan B. Cox, Jr. has made vital contributions to inertial and radio navigation systems in his 40-year career that began as a staff member at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (later renamed C.S. Draper Laboratory).

At the Instrumentation Laboratory, he led the development of self-oscillating fluidic stabilization servos for the floated-sphere SABRE inertial navigation system and the electromagnetic attitude readout system for the follow-on AIRS inertial navigation system, later produced by Northrop for the USAF peacekeeper program.

After developing attitude measurement systems based on electromagnetic waves transmitted over fractions of an inch, Dr. Cox extended the tracking technology to radio navigation applications and led the development of techniques for tracking Loran-C and Omega navigation signals.

With the encouragement of the founding director of the GPS JPO, in the late 1970s, Dr. Cox shifted the emphasis of his group to the emerging GPS system. The ensuing GPS work became important enough for Draper Laboratory to create a Radio Navigation Division under his leadership. Significant technology contributions under his leadership include the invention and development of an important technique (extended range code tracking) for speeding the acquisition of NAVSTAR GPS signals in the presence of jamming, the development of a highly accurate GPS system for flight instrumentation, the first demonstration of a pre-correlation digital P-code GPS receiver, and the truly pioneering demonstration in collaboration with Dr. Richard Greenspan and Prof. Charles C. Counselman III of techniques for processing GPS carrier phase signals to provide measurements of short baselines with millimeter accuracies.

In 1986, Dr. Cox co-founded the Mayflower Communications Company, Inc., where he developed projects for advanced navigation and communication technology for the U.S. government. One example is the design of an experiment utilizing GPS and inertial sensors aboard the space shuttle to measure perturbations in the gravity field of the Earth.

In 1991, Dr. Cox founded DBC Communications, Inc., where he is currently president. His recent work there includes the co-invention of an optimum recursive estimator for systems including integer states, and the ongoing development of an ultra-tightly coupled GPS-INS receiver.

Dr. Cox is the author of 24 published papers, 10 U.S. patents, and numerous reports. He has served the ION in various capacities, including program and general chair of ION annual meetings, Eastern Region council member, and Eastern Region vice president.