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Future Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Will Rely On GPS

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become an increasingly vital tool in aiding national military and law enforcement agencies in recent years due to their unique capability to be piloted via remote controls by skilled technicians hundreds of miles away. This capability has allowed international law enforcement personnel unparalleled insight into enemy territories that would put the safety of actual soldiers at extremely high risk. Many of these UAVs are equipped with a GPS tracking device to aid pilots in coordination in areas where standard optical cameras would fail, such as thick cloud coverage or the darkness of night. In addition, GPS tracking technology combined with an automated hovering option allows many UAVs to loiter within a designated area for days without intensive oversight from the controller. In an area where the United States and allies have designated air superiority, there are few threats from ground attack and the UAV can hover without much concern. However, to extend the role of UAVs in areas of conflict, national law enforcement operators are citing a critical need to find new ways to strengthen the interactivity of GPS tracking technology and subsequently the artificial intelligence of the UAVs’ computational infrastructure.

Air Force Col. Dean Bushey, the deputy director of the U.S. Army Join Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence recently stated his concern regarding the emergence of GPS tracking jammers. These devices are capable of broadcasting a signal in the same frequency that the United States’ network of navigational satellites use to obtain location data, and can easily skew the accuracy of the transmissions. To combat this issue, he suggested the need to either find a way to shield current GPS tracking systems from this interruption, or engineer a way to disguise the current satellite transmissions, effectively “jamming” a GPS tracking jammer and acting as a stealth mechanism.

In addition, he claims that the controller range of current UAVs must also be greatly enhanced, allowing the UAV to operate from bases that are further from the area of conflict and therefore much safer from attack. While current GPS tracking technology allows pilots to designate a certain area as a “geofence” that the UAV can stay hovered in, Bushey argues that future UAVs must be capable of detecting an enemy and avoiding detection on its own by combining applications of GPS tracking technology and intuitive artificial intelligence. While the scope of this technology is still beyond material realization, military and law enforcement are surely hard at work engineering ways of making every journey into enemy territory as safe as possible In popular student travel destinations such as Washington D.C., SCVNGR utilizes the navigational capabilities of GPS tracking technology to provide the students with maps and routes that will avoid areas of high traffic or recent criminal activity in attempts to keep the trip as safe as possible. One of the chief designers of SCVNGR noted that in an age where technology has never been more prevalent among our younger demographics, the entire paradigm of experiential learning must also shift to keep students involved and interested. Truth be told, the New 3 E’s of Education (according to the 2011 Project Tomorrow report) are Enabled, Engaged, and Empowered. Educational teen tracking applications that utilize the safety and convenience benefits of GPS tracking technology allow for schools across the country to ensure these principles are brought classrooms nationwide.

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