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Session C3: Spectrum: Protection and Optimization

No GPS No Problem: Exploiting Cellular OFDM-Based Signals for Accurate Navigation in a GPS-Jammed Environment
Zak (Zaher) M. Kassas, The Ohio State University; Ali Abdallah, University of California, Irvine; and Chiawei Lee, US Air Force
Date/Time: Thursday, Sep. 14, 11:48 a.m.

Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) are at the heart of numerous technologies that fuel our modern day life. It is estimated that there are currently about 8 billion GNSS devices worldwide, reaching 9 billion by 2025. The economic benefits of GPS to the U.S. private sector between 1984 and 2017 is estimated to be nearly $1.8 trillion, and 15 of the 18 U.S. critical infrastructures rely on GPS. While losing accurate positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) can be a nuisance in non-safety critical applications, the impact can be catastrophic in safety-critical applications, such as transportation, aviation, military operations, among others.
Over the last few years, GNSS jamming and spoofing incidents have been happening with increasing frequency, exposing the inherent vulnerabilities of GNSS, and rendering them a single point of failure [1]–[4]. GNSS jamming and spoofing have affected hundreds of vessels in South Korea; disrupted navigation over the South China Sea islands; caused chaos on smartphones and rideshares in Moscow; put tens of vessels into disarray in the Black Sea; caused dozens of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to plummet during a Hong Kong air show, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages; are suspected to have been utilized to hijack UAVs and oil tankers in the Persian Gulf; disrupted airport operations around the world; and are becoming commonplace in military conflict. What is particularly alarming is that jamming and spoofing are no longer confined to sophisticated rogue organizations, with jammers being sold online and marketed as personal privacy devices, and hackers publishing spoofing software-defined radio (SDR) code online. Today’s navigation systems, particularly those onboard ground, aerial, and surface vehicles, fuse information from a GNSS receiver and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) [5]. The integration of these two systems, typically referred to as a GNSS-aided inertial navigation system (INS), takes advantage of the complementary attributes of each system: the long-term stability of a GNSS navigation solution aids the short-term accuracy of an INS. Sensors (e.g., cameras, lasers, sonar, and odometers) have been commonly adopted to supplement a navigation system for the inevitable event that GNSS signals become unreliable or unavailable. These sensors could be used to extract relative motion information to reduce the INS’s error divergence rate. However, they are still dead-reckoning-type sensors; therefore, during prolonged periods of GNSS outage, the error would eventually diverge. Moreover, these sensors only provide local position estimates, may not properly function in all environments (e.g., fog, snow, rain, dust, nighttime, etc.), and are still susceptible to malicious spoofing attacks [6].
Signals of opportunity (SOPs) have been considered to enable navigation whenever GNSS signals become unavailable or unreliable [7]. SOPs are ambient radio signals that are not intended for navigation or timing purposes, such as AM/FM radio [8], [9], cellular [10]–[13], digital television [14], [15], and low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite signals [16]–[19]. In contrast to the aforementioned dead-reckoning-type sensors, absolute position information could be extracted from SOPs to provide bounded INS errors. Moreover, many SOPs are practically unaffected by dense smoke, fog, rain, snow, and other poor weather conditions. Among terrestrial SOPs, the most accurate navigation solution has been demonstrated with cellular signals, yielding meter-level navigation on ground vehicles [20] and submeter-accurate navigation on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) [21]. Moreover, cellular signals have been demonstrated to be usable in an intentionally GPS-jammed environment [22].
This presentation will showcase results from experiments that took place at Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA, during Navigation Festival (NAVFEST), in which GPS was intentionally jammed with J/S as high as 90 dB. A radio simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) approach will be presented along with the experimental results for navigation with cellular SOPs in a GPS-denied environment. The clock stability of two cellular SOP long-term evolution (LTE) eNodeBs in the jammed area will be analyzed, showing that the relative stability between the LTE SOPs is maintained for a period of more than 95 min during GPS jamming. Next, an innovative LTE SDR design will be presented, which yields significant improvement over the results presented in [22]. The SDR exploits downlink orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM)-based cellular signals from multiple logical antenna ports simultaneously, which dramatically improves the SDR’s sensitivity. The efficacy of the proposed SDR is demonstrated experimentally in an environment under intentional GPS jamming in which the ground vehicle-mounted SDR navigated for 5 km in 180 seconds. Note that to obtain the vehicle’s ground truth trajectory, a vehicle-mounted GNSS-IMU system was used, which utilized signals from the non-jammed GNSS constellations (Galileo and GLONASS). It is shown that the vehicle’ commercial high-end GPS SDR (Septentrio AsteRx-i V) with an industrial-grade IMU (Vectornav VN-100) accumulated a position root mean-squared error (RMSE) of 238 m. On the other hand, the developed LTE SDR was able to acquire and track signals from 6 long- term evolution (LTE) eNodeBs, one of which was more than 25 km away, achieving a two-dimensional position root mean-squared error (RMSE) of 2.6 m exclusively with cellular LTE signals and no other sensors. It is worth noting that the unprecedented 2.6 position RMSE achieved with this SDR are an order of magnitude smaller than previously published results in the same environment [22], which achieved a position RMSE of 29.4 m.
References
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[13] A. Abdallah and Z. Kassas, “UAV navigation with 5 G carrier phase measurements,” in Proc. ION GNSS Conf., 2021, pp. 3294–3306.
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[18] J. Khalife, M. Neinavaie, and Z. Kassas, “The first carrier phase tracking and positioning results with Starlink LEO satellite signals,” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, vol. 56, pp. 1487– 1491, 2022.
[19] “Ad astra: Simultaneous tracking and navigation with megaconstellation LEO satellites,” IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, 2023. accepted.
[20] R. Whiton, J. Chen, T. Johansson, and F. Tufvesson, “Urban navigation with LTE using a large antenna array and machine learning,” in Proceedings of IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, pp. 1–5, 2022.
[21] J. Khalife and Z. Kassas, “On the achievability of submeter-accurate UAV navigation with cellular signals exploiting loose network synchronization,” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, vol. 58, pp. 4261–4278, 2022.
[22] Z. Kassas, J. Khalife, A. Abdallah, and C. Lee, “I am not afraid of the GPS jammer: resilient navigation via signals of opportunity in GPS-denied environments,” IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, vol. 37, no. 7, pp. 4–19, 2022.



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