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.
3.5″ x 1.9″ x 2.4″; 8oz; 4.1W
Features & Benefits
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the standard source of navigation and position 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 within 2mils. The SkyPASS polarization channel provides improved availability when typical sun/star trackers fail such as at twilight, in urban environments, under canopy, and under cloud cover.
Far Target Locator
To determine the location of a target on Earth, the following parameters must be known: azimuth, elevation, self-position, and distance. Azimuth errors in the guidance of 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 2mils 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.
Polarization for Navigation
Inspired by nature, the SkyPASS polarization channel exploits the atmospheric polarization pattern to find highly accurate heading in situations when a typical sun or star channel would fail to operate (e.g., under canopy, in urban environments, in civil or nautical twilight, during sunrise and sunset), and it provides improved availability under cloud cover. Unpolarized sunlight or moonlight becomes partially polarized when scattered by atmospheric molecules. Rayleigh scattering creates a polarization pattern, or map, that is unique depending upon the observer’s location, orientation, and the date and time. This natural phenomenon is the scientific basis for SkyPASS operation, and it can be predicted to first order using Rayleigh scattering theory. Navigation via measuring sky polarization complements traditional methods by greatly increasing availability while being unaffected by magnetic anomalies, by being immune to GPS-inhibiting techniques, and by not requiring leveling or initialization.