The Sky Polarization Azimuth Sensing System, SkyPASS®, provides mission-critical, highly-accurate attitude information regardless of GPS accessibility in a low-power, low-cost, extremely small form factor. SkyPASS finds North with less than 2-mil accuracy and has considerable military and commercial impact as a navigation, localization, and targeting aid. The system is passive, does not require time to initialize, and is well suited for air, land, sea, and weapon platforms.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the standard source of navigation and positioning for civilian platforms and a source for military systems. GPS jammers and other forms of signal denial are becoming increasingly cheap and effective; making GPS failure a reality and a critical risk for navigation and localization applications. Military platforms need to be able to navigate without revealing their location to potential adversaries if GPS becomes contested.
SkyPASS utilizes sky polarization and Sun-tracking to find heading with a confidence metric that predicts the RMS heading to with 2 mils. The SkyPASS polarization channel provides improved availability when typical sun/star trackers fails such as in twilight, urban environments, under canopy, and under cloud cover.
Far Target Locator
Azimuth, elevation, self-position, and distance must be known to determine the location of a target on Earth. Azimuth errors in the guidance of man-portable weapon systems lead to failure of target acquisition and destruction. High-accuracy azimuth sensors are expensive, bulky, power hungry, and require up to 4 minutes for initialization. Magnetic compasses are inexpensive solutions; however, they are hindered by magnetic interference and offer only marginal accuracy.
SkyPASS is a high-accuracy, low SWaP-C solution for determining azimuth to within 2 mils for any platform requiring accurate heading information including man-portable weapon systems. SkyPASS is not hindered by many of the operational limitations seen in the current azimuth sensing methodologies.
Features & Benefits
SkyPASS has been tested on static and dynamic platforms, in high latitudes, and in custom sensor packages.
Using Polarization to Navigate
Sky polarization is an upper atmosphere phenomenon observable from any point on Earth or from any aerial platform. In the diagram, the time of day is shown at the top of each polarization map, the Sun is shown as a small, yellow disc, and the center of each plot is zenith. Using advanced algorithms and optics, SkyPASS is able to detect and decipher the polarization map of the sky to compute highly accurate heading.