Voting period for this idea type has passed

Extreme GPS: Limits of Security and Precision

GPS has its limits. My students and I at the University of Texas Radionavigation Lab work to find them. For 20 years, GPS was so reliable it became navigation and timing crack for engineers. We all got addicted. We put it in our phones, planes, power grid, comms networks. But there are limits.
My students and I bought an $80k helicopter drone a few months back and pushed its embedded GPS receiver to the extreme. Turns out, you can hijack one of these drones by perfectly aligning fake GPS signals with the real ones. And you can do it from miles away. We grabbed the world's attention at White Sands in June. Our demo has changed the national conversation about integrating civil drones into the national airspace.
We want to probe the extremes again, only this time in precision. Surveyors already have hyper-precise GPS; we want to show how this can be commoditized, put in your cell phone, overlaid on the world. We want hyper-precise augmented reality.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What happens when you hack a GPS feed?
  2. Why can't we get better than meter-level precision with standard GPS?
  3. What could you do with geolocation so accurate you could pinpoint the wrinkles in the palm of your hand?
  4. What does centimeter-accurate GPS graffiti look like?
  5. Should we trust the autopilot of the planes we fly in?



Todd Humphreys, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.

Show me another