2009 Thurlow Award

Presented to: Dr. Dennis M. Akos

Citation: For contributions to the design and application of GNSS software defined radios, embedded receivers and detailed observation of GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Compass signals.


Dr. Dennis M. Akos has made sustained and significant contributions to navigation especially in the areas of receiver design, signal observation and characterization, and education. His exceptional skills in design, experimentation, analysis and teaching have had a profound impact on the field of navigation.

Dr. Akos developed the first GPS/GLONASS software radio which included novel front end designs allowing for sampled data collection and storage. This approach has been widely replicated by research groups throughout the world. In collaboration with Nokia and Ericsson he made improvements in front-end design and working with students and visiting researchers, developed theoretical models to predict receiver performance characteristics.

Dr. Akos' concepts for embedding GPS processing into existing devices, like cellular phones, have been instrumental in the success of Nordnav Technologies Corporation (founded 2002) and impacted companies including SiRF, Globallocate, and others. He and his students have also developed specialized, modular, and FPGA-based receivers for GPS use as a bistatic radar. These instruments have been used from aircraft platforms, balloons, etc. to study key surface properties. His intricate knowledge of receiver design has also opened opportunities for integration of low-cost inertial sensors for improved performance in urban driving environments.

Dr. Akos has pioneered the use of software defined radio's for engineering and scientific study. In collaboration with researchers at Stanford, he implemented an SDR for integrity monitoring in aircraft navigation which has been used extensively to study signal structure issues including the so-called "evil waveform." This approach has been valuable in characterization of multipath in airborne and airport environments, providing unique insight into the distortion produced by environment and by hardware elements in the receiver systems. It has also been applied to studying the influence of potentially disturbing signals from UWB transmitters on GPS, and the impact of receiver designs on multi-antenna element systems. Dr. Akos received his B.S. and M.S. in electrical and computer engineering, an M.S. in mathematics, and the Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Ohio University.