NarulaOctober 2021: RNL alumnus Dr. Lakshay Narula (PhD, 2020) won the Bradford W. Parkinson Award, recognizing an outstanding graduate student in the field of Position, Navigation, Timing (PNT) and/or Applications.  Lakshay Narula's Ph.D. dissertation is a substantial and foundational contribution to the PNT community. It makes four primary contributions, one of which has already been favorably recognized by the ION community: his work in all-weather precise positioning for automated vehicles, published at the ION PLANS 2020 conference, was awarded the Walter Fried award -- the conference's highest honor -- for its technical depth and potential impact.  As fully developed in his dissertation, this work offers both novel theory and a fully-functional experimental pipeline with impressive field-test results.

The announcement can be found here.

Mark Psiaki - KeplerOctober 2021: Dr. Mark Psiaki won the 2021 Institute of Navigation (ION) Kepler Award, the highest award in the navigation community.  The Kepler Award is awarded annually to honor an individual for sustained and significant contributions to the development of satellite navigation during their lifetime (can be thought as the navigation "hall of fame").  Dr. Psiaki set a standard of rigor, clarity, and thoroughness in addressing key estimation and signal processing problems in PNT.  Dr. Psiaki was RNL director Todd Humphreys's Ph.D. advisor at Cornell.

The full announcement can be accessed here.

Joint Navigation ConferenceOctober 2021: Dr. Todd Humphreys presented on Resilient and Robust PNT at the Joint Navigation Conference, saying we need “backups on backups on backups.”  Within this talk, he discussed GNSS vulnerabilities and threats as well as defense mechanisms.  He included real-world examples such as: spoofing an iPhone, UAV, and super-yacht, "crop circles" in China, and pin-pointing sources of interference from Low Earth Orbit. 

The full set of slide can be found here.

September 2021: Authors of new PNT textbook: Position, Navigation, and Timing Technologies in the 21st Century: Integrated Satellite Navigation, Sensor Systems, and Civil Applications, met in-person at the ION GNSS+ conference.  The textbook covers the latest developments in PNT technologies, including integrated satellite navigation, sensor systems, and civil applications and features RNL director Todd Humphrey, RNL alumnus Zak Kassas, and RNL "grandfather" Mark Psiaki. 

The full list of authors included in the picture are: James Farrell (ch. 46), Sabrina Ugazio (ch. 10), Benjamin Ashman (ch. 22), Brad Parkinson (ch. 1), John Betz (cc. 2, 3), Mark Psiaki (ch. 25), John Raquet (cc. 35, 48, 50), Todd Humphreys (ch. 25), Charles Toth (ch. 51), Zak Kassas (cc. 38, 43).  Bottom row, left to right: Boris Pervan (ch. 12), Mathieu Joerger (cc. 23, 60), Todd Walter (cc 13, 43, 64), Frank van Diggelen (cc. 1, 17, 18)

The book can be found here.

September 2021: The FAA authorized the MITRE Corporation to perform a series of tests that used commercial smartphones inside of aircraft as a method to detect GPS spoofing.  These tests involved a feature of wireless cellular networks called Timing Advance that is available through standard 4G and 5G wireless networks operated by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.  A range estimate can be deduced from the basestations, which serves as a check for the GPS solution.  GNSS spoofing expert Dr. Humphreys mentions that this technology is what he would hope the FAA would look at, as it could be an effective way to detect spoofing at a cheap cost.  

The full article can be found here.


Media Assets : NPRAugust 2021:  Dr. Todd Humphreys was featured in NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday.  The segment focused on AIS spoofing in the Black Sea, specifically the contested waters of Russian-occupied Crimea.  U.S. and European naval vessels tend to be the primary victims, however, there are Russian vessels spoofed in the same manner.  Dr. Humphreys suggests that Russia could be behind this and that they're spoofing their own ships in part to throw off suspicion. But it's also possible that this is some third party.

The full NPR segment (including transcript) can be found here.

wiredJuly 2021:  Over 100 warships from at least 14 European countries, Russia, and the United States appear to have had their AIS location spoofed since August 2020.  Amongst these unlucky warships, some of the spoofed tracks show the warships approaching contested areas, such as, foreign naval bases or intruding into disputed waters.  These activities could escalate tension in hot spots like the Black Sea and the Baltic.  Dr. Humphreys comments, “While I can't say for sure who's doing this, the data fits a pattern of disinformation that our Russian friends are wont to engage in.”  He also says AIS could be more secure by adding digital signatures to each message.  

The full Wired article can be accessed here.

photo of todd humphreysJuly 2021:  Todd Humphreys has been elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation (RIN) “for improving understanding of GNSS vulnerabilities and pioneering the use of alternate techniques to achieve resilience.” Established in 1947 in London, the institute aims to advance the art, science and practice of navigation while promoting knowledge of the subject and its associated sciences such as positioning, timing and tracking.

Read more about it here.

June 2021:  There was tension in the Black Sea near Crimea, Ukraine as Russian authorities claimed to have fired warning shots at the UK Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender; however, the UK Ministry of Defence denies the event ever happening.  Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking logs showed that the HMS Defender traversed the Black Sea and sailed within a few kilometres of a Russian naval base at Sevastopol, but a live web cam feed proved the HMS Defender to be docked at Odessa, Ukraine.  The false AIS tracks indicate GPS and AIS spoofing was involved.  Dr. Todd Humphreys comments on this, saying "it’s easy to gin up a fake AIS signal purporting to be the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender and broadcast it around the Black Sea with some provocative-looking tracks.“  Humphreys says he has seen AIS fakery before, but never for a warship. He too suggests that the most likely source is Russian disinformation – to sow confusion.

Read the New Scientist article here.

May 2021: Reports of maritime GNSS spoofing have become all but routine in recent years. Ships navigating the Strait of Hormuz have been reporting suspicious navigation problems which may be the result of Iranian spoofing. Many theorize that Iran uses spoofing to lead unsuspecting vessels into Iranian waters where they may be captured. This article from The Economist mentions Dr. Humphreys's experiments in GPS spoofing as the first public demonstrations of such technology.

May 2021: Ligado, an American communications company, received approval from the FCC in 2020 to build a terrestrial 5G network which will operate in the spectrum adjacent to GPS. Many worry that Ligado's network will inadvertently jam GPS receivers because the frequencies are near one another and Ligado's signals will be much stronger. Interestingly, the FCC only requires Ligado to pay for accidental damages to federal GPS users. This has sparked a wave of controversy, considering that private companies would also suffer substantial losses if their GPS-dependent systems are disrupted. Read the article from RealClearMarkets here. 

May 2021: German broadcasting station Südwestrundfunk (SWR) featured Dr. Humphreys in their news report on GNSS spoofing. In his interview, Dr. Humphreys explains the leading theory on GNSS spoofing in Syria: that the Russian military has been deploying "bubble of GPS spoofing" to help protect Vladimir Putin on his visits there. Watch the news broadcast on YouTube here.

This report, entitled "Above Us Only Stars," is an in-depth review of the Russian spoofing activity. The RNL was a major contributor to this report. 

RNL member Matthew Murrian's paper "GNSS Interference Monitoring from Low Earth Orbit" describes how the RNL detected spoofing activity in Syria via a receiver on the International Space Station.

April 2021: The prevalence of unmanned aerial vehicles has caused a plethora of safety and regulatory problems in recent years, which is why several companies are developing counter-UAV technologies. Some of these use kinetic methods to disable offending drones, but others use microwave radiation to either jam or disable the drones' onboard electronics. 

"A ray gun that can fry a drone’s electronics at hundreds of meters sounds like something Tony Stark would invent" says Dr. Humphreys. 

Amazing as it sounds, such devices are being developed today. But companies seeking to test their devices are being denied by the FCC and referred to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which has jurisdiction over military spectrum experiments. Read the IEEE Spectrum article here.

March 2021: GPS interference has been a worsening problem for the past decade, particularly for aviation. This article from IEEE spectrum covers current research efforts to detect and monitor GPS interference. Data from ADS-B and terrestrial GPS receivers offer a good start, but Dr. Humphreys explains that these sources are limited by sensor sparsity: 

"There are fewer than 3000 GPS reference stations with publicly-accessible data across the globe; these can be separated by hundreds of miles. Likewise, global coverage by ships and planes is still sparse enough to make detection challenging, and localization nearly impossible, except around ports and airports."

The Radionavigation Lab's recent paper, GNSS Interference Monitoring from Low-Earth Orbit, shows how satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO) can be used to monitor terrestrial GPS interference. A network of GPS-monitoring satellites in LEO may be the solution to global detection and monitoring of GPS interference. 

January 2021: This recent article from The New York Times summarizes America's extreme dependence on GPS and the resulting vulnerabilities. They credit Dr. Humphreys's 2008 paper on GPS spoofing with bringing the weakness to light. When asked about the urgency of finding alternatives to GPS, Dr. Humphreys said

"If we don’t get good backups on line, then GPS is just a soft rib of ours, and we could be punched here very quickly."

The article underscores several of the Radionavigation Lab's research areas, including Russian GPS interference and maritime GPS spoofing.  

January 2021: FAA pilot reports have revealed that military tests are interfering with airline flights. The military is presumably generating GPS interference to test their latest positioning technology, but the interference is reaching beyond the test sites and jamming passenger aircraft that routinely rely on GPS for navigation and landing. Although pilots are trained for such scenarios, the loss of GPS is so rare that it can still cause disorientation and confusion in the cockpit. In this article from IEEE Spectrum, Dr. Humphreys explains: 

"I don’t blame pilots for getting a little addicted to GPS. When something works well 99.99 percent of the time, humans don’t do well in being vigilant for that 0.01 percent of the time that it doesn’t."

October 2020: This recent article from BBC explores the modern world's dependence on GPS and some possible position, navigation, and timing alternatives. We depend on GPS for everything from turn-by-turn navigation to banking transactions, but the system has some critical vulnerabilities to jamming and spoofing.

“There is a growing recognition of the need to protect, toughen, and augment GPS,” Humphreys said, "There is also the remote threat that the whole GPS constellation could be rendered inoperable in the initial salvo of a war targeting the US economy by attacking critical infrastructure.”

Many research groups are developing possible alternatives like terrestrial, inertial, and even celestial navigation, but none of these have been able to fully replace GPS. 

October 2020: Dr. Peter Iannucci's recently-submitted paper, Fused Low-Earth-Orbit GNSS, was highlighted in the MIT technology review for its expected impact on the US Army's navigation technologies. The paper proposes to leverage low-earth-orbit internet constellations, like SpaceX's Starlink, to provide strong, jam-resistant positioning signals that augment the existing GPS. The need for this augmentation is emphasized by the recent emergence of low-cost GNSS jammers and spoofers, which have been appearing across the globe. Dr. Iannucci and his coauthor Dr. Humphreys are optimistic that this technology will prove indispensable for high-integrity navigation. 

Read the MIT Technology Review article here.

September 2020: The Department of Transportation recently allocated nearly 2 million dollars to fund a new University Transportation Center (UTC) whose members include Ohio State University, the University of California Irvine, and the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Zak Kassas, an RNL alumnus, is the Principal Investigator of the overall multi-university center. Dr. Humphreys will lead the center's effort at UT Austin. “We beat out at least a dozen other teams vying for this UTC,” Humphreys explains. The UTC will focus research on highly-automated transportation systems, with an emphasis on safety, security, and reliability. Read the full article here.

September 2020: NASA recently started accepting commercial contracts for missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Initially intended to make the ISS more accessible to scientific companies, the new initiative is attracting unexpected clients. NASA astronauts will soon be tasked with filming cosmetics commercials and transporting souvenirs. Dr. Todd Humphreys comments on this development, saying "If the circus is necessary to maintain the International Space Station, it's probably a good trade-off." 

Read the New Scientist article here.

August 2020: Dr. Todd Humphreys's groundbreaking work in GPS over the past decade was featured in this article from the New Yorker. The article offers a charming summary of Dr. Humphreys's career and the Radionavigation Lab's GPS-related research.

June 2020: Ships thousands of miles at sea are mysteriously reporting GPS positions near Point Reyes, which is off the coast of San Francisco. Dr. Todd Humphreys believes that this is part of the worldwide maritime spoofing that he has been studying over the past few years.

"I think we're witnessing [...] the emergence of commodity off-the-shelf spoofing devices," Humphreys said. "Someone somewhere is selling cheap turnkey GPS spoofers."

Read the full story in this Newsweek article.

June 2020: Maritime GPS spoofing is a worldwide puzzle, and researchers have yet to uncover the motivation behind the spoofing. Until recently, spoofing signals were always broadcast over large areas to affect many ships. It now seems that spoofing has become more targeted; sometimes only one ship is affected. This suggests that new, low-power spoofing hardware has become available. In an article from New Scientist, Dr. Todd Humphreys explains: 

“Over a decade ago, Chinese companies began to offer cheap jammers, which became known as ‘personal privacy devices'. I think what we’re witnessing here is the emergence of commoditized spoofing: someone has begun selling a low-cost spoofing device for use on ships.”

Read the New Scientist article here.

June 2020: Dr. Todd Humphreys was invited to the Hexagon | NovAtel® offices in March 2020 to give a presentation on the Radionavigation Lab's recent research. Read the blog post on their website here.

In his presentation, titled "All-Weather Localization and Positioning for Self-Driving Cars," Dr. Humphreys covers material from two of the Lab's recent papers:

Together, these papers represent a significant step toward realizing safe and affordable self-driving cars.

Watch Dr. Humphreys's presentation here!

June 2020: Lakshay Narula (center), Peter Iannucci (right), and Todd Humphreys (left) were awarded the Walter R. Fried Memorial Award for the best overall paper at the 2020 IEEE/ION PLANSx conference. Their paper, titled "Automotive-Radar-Based 50-cm Urban Positioning," presents a novel method of radar localization for autonomous vehicles in urban environments. Congratulations to the authors!

Read more about the paper and award on the university website.

May 2020: As part of his recent paper for the IEEE/ION PLANSx conference, Lakshay Narula published an extensive dataset for urban positioning, called TEX-CUP: The University of Texas Challenge for Urban Positioning.

"Mass-market precise GNSS positioning is being researched now more than ever", Lakshay says. "To make progress as a research community, we need to evaluate new techniques on a shared dataset, and this dataset must be challenging and representative of typical urban driving. Self-driving car datasets available today do not provide raw IF GNSS data, or even the raw pseudorange and carrier-phase observables. With the release of TEX-CUP, we're hopeful that the precise positioning community will finally have a shared benchmark dataset. As we add data from many major cities around the world, we believe TEX-CUP will be the go-to dataset for precise GNSS evaluation."

We look forward to seeing what the community achieves with Lakshay's dataset!

April 2020: This article from GPS World reports on GPS spoofing discovered in Iran. It references some of Dr. Humphreys's early work in GPS spoofing.

March 2020: Admiration for GPS runs high among RNL alumni, as witnessed by K. Wesson's new license plate!

February 2020: The Radionavigation Lab's work in GNSS interference detection was featured on the cover of Inside GNSS, a magazine dedicated to global navigation systems. Click here to read the article from Inside GNSS.

In 2017, the Radionavigation lab placed a custom software defined receiver onboard the International Space Station as part of a larger effort to study GNSS signals in the low Earth orbit environment. Over the two year study, multiple sources of GNSS interference were identified by analyzing data from the receiver. This work was done by Radionavigation Lab members Matthew Murrian (lead author), Lakshay Narula, and Todd Humphreys. Brady O'Hanlon from MITRE Corporation and Scott Budzien from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory were also collaborators on the project. Congratulations to the authors!

February 2020: The Institute of Navigation presented awards at their International Technical Meeting in January. These recipients are affiliated with the Radionavigation Laboratory:

  • Dr. Zaher (Zak) Kassas (left) is a former member of the lab and current professor at the University of California, Irvine. He won the 2019 Institute of Navigation Thurlow Award "for foundational work in the theory and practice of exploiting signals of opportunity for accurate and reliable positioning, navigation and timing."

  • Dr. Todd Humphreys (center) was elected as a 2020 ION Fellow "for significant and fundamental contributions to PNT security and precise GNSS positioning for the mass market, and for dedication to GNSS education and outreach." See articles from GPS World and the Cockrell School of Engineering.

  • Dr. Ramsey Faragher (right) is the CEO of Focal Point Positioning and a close friend of the lab. He was awarded the 2019 Per Enge Early Achievement Award "for outstanding innovations in mobile positioning and navigation, and in particular for pioneering the revolutionary SuperCorrelation technology." See this article from The Royal Society about his collaboration with Dr. Humphreys.

February 2020: The Army Futures Command (AFC) has partnered with the University of Texas at Austin to develop robots to assist with dangerous tasks on the battlefield. These robots will assist with non-combat jobs such as minesweeping and obstacle removal. This partnership has enabled the construction of a new robotics center at UT Austin.

“It’s a real endorsement for the Cockrell School and for UT in general,” says Dr. Humphreys, “There are really compelling problems here — at the edge of what we can currently do. For students interested in pushing the frontiers of science and research, it’s inspiring, it will have consequences, and the U.S. desperately needs it.”

Both the AFC and UT Austin are looking forward to a lasting partnership that will save lives on the battlefield while enriching students' educational experience. Read the full article from Texas Engineer for a glimpse of some of the upcoming research.

January 2020: Dr. Todd Humphreys was interviewed by Fortune Magazine for his investigation of GPS spoofing and interference in the shipping industry. Read the Fortune article here.

January 2020: Key infrastructure of the United States, including cell-phone networks, financial markets, the electric grid, and emergency services, all depend on GPS timing signals for basic operation. A large-scale, coordinated attack could be accomplished by only a dozen or so people with the right equipment, spread out across the country.

“There is no foolproof defense,” Humphreys says. “What you can try is to price your opponent out of the game” by deploying antispoofing countermeasures. However, “if your opponent happens to be the Russian Federation,” Humphreys says, “good luck.” This isn't an idle concern: the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a Washington, D.C., research nonprofit, identified nearly 10,000 incidents originating at 10 locations that included the Russian Federation, Crimea and Syria. Experts in the U.S. government and in academia say Iran and North Korea also have the capability.

One solution is to implement a ground-based alternative to GPS in the form of eLoran (enhanced long-range navigation), which uses high-power, low-frequency signals that are difficult to jam or spoof. Although funding has been allocated for the construction of such a system in the United States, none has yet been spent. Many other countries rely on systems similar to eLoran as backups to GPS.

A more dramatic solution would be to augment GPS signals with digital signatures that authenticate the data by employing public-private key cryptographic methods. The signal coming from the current constellation of satellites cannot be changed, and an air force spokesperson said no plans exist to incorporate digital signatures into the next generation of satellites.

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys in Scientific American.

December 2019: Researchers at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a nonprofit that analyzes global conflict and security issues, have published evidence suggesting that GPS signal spoofing is behind maritime AIS (automatic identification system) disruptions in Shanghai. Data aggregated over many weeks showed ship locations appearing at different locations in large "rings: on the eastern bank of the Huangpu river.

At the ION GNSS+ conference in September, Dr. Humphreys showed a visualization of the data.

“To be able to spoof multiple ships simultaneously into a circle is extraordinary technology. It looks like magic,” he said. Attendees at the conference began to refer to the mysterious patterns as "crop circles."

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys in the MIT Technology Review to learn what some experts think might be the reason for the mystery spoofing.

December 2020: Dr. Todd Humphreys has been investigating spoofing in Shanghai for quite some time. In this article for Inside GNSS, Humphreys offers a detailed analysis of ship positioning data and insight as to what's going on in Shanghai. 

November 2020: Dr. Peter Iannucci presented to the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board at their semi-annual board meeting on November 20, 2019. His presentation, titled "Augmenting GPS with PNT from LEO", is available online.

"The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board provides independent advice to the U.S. government on GPS-related policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles in relation to the current state of national and international satellite navigation services" (

October 2019: The Army Futures Command (AFC) has named the University of Texas Radionavigation Lab (RNL) and Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) as its strategic partners in assured positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT).

Interviewed by GPS World, Dr. Humphreys revealed that RNL's main focus will be “… leveraging the tens of thousands of communications satellites projected to be in low earth orbit in the next few years for PNT services. [...] We are working with a major provider and already have some interesting results we can share.”

Read more from the Army News Service and GPS World.

July 2019: For weeks, a mysterious source of GPS interference has been affecting aircraft in the Middle East. Since last spring, pilots flying through airspace around Syria have noted that their GPS systems have displayed the wrong location or even stopped working entirely. A few weeks ago, the issue spread to Israeli airspace when pilots started reporting navigation problems during takeoff and landing at Ben Gurion International Airport. Data collected by Todd Humphreys, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has located the source: the mystery signal originates inside a Russian air base in Syria.

This interference to Global Positioning System (GPS) reception does not appear to be targeted at Israel; instead, it is more likely collateral damage resulting from an effort by Moscow to protect its troops in the region in the wake of drone attacks. There is possibly another motivation; Humphreys suggests that a reason behind the interference may be to demonstrate Russia's “dominance in the radio spectrum.”

The interfering signals are so powerful, in fact, that they can be seen from space—it is using sensors onboard the International Space Station that Humphreys and his team have been tracking the phenomenon. They were able to pin down the source of the signal: Khmeimim Air Base, the center of Russia's presence in Syria since 2015. According to Humphreys, the interfering signal appears to be a combination of jamming, in which valid GPS signals are drowned out by radio noise, and spoofing, in which valid GPS signals are mimicked in such a way as to cause receivers to report incorrect results.

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys in The Times of Israel.

July 2019: Todd Humphreys was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for 2019. The PECASE is the highest honor given by the United States government to scientists and engineers beginning their research careers. Nominated for the PECASE by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Humphreys is also a recipient of the UT Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award (2012), the NSF CAREER Award (2015) and the Institute of Navigation Thurlow Award (2015).

Read more on the Cockrell School website. Congratulations, Dr. Humphreys!

June 2019: Dr. Todd Humphreys presented to the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board at their semi-annual board meeting on June 6, 2019. His presentation, titled "GNSS Radio Frequency Interference Detection from LEO", is available online.

"The National Space-Based PNT Advisory Board provides independent advice to the U.S. government on GPS-related policy, planning, program management, and funding profiles in relation to the current state of national and international satellite navigation services" (

April 2019: A yearlong study by security experts with the Washington-based think tank C4ADS conducted by identified a pattern in which GPS devices near Putin and his entourage suddenly gave incorrect readings. The researchers also identified five buildings associated with the Kremlin that appeared to employ the technique on a rolling basis. The researchers theorize that one reason "spoofing" is deployed is to protect Putin and other Russian officials from attacks or surveillance by drones that rely on GPS.

However, there's a drawback to creating a GPS bubble around a world leader, said Todd Humphreys, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who was involved with the study. It also makes it easier to keep track of Putin. "What's ironic is if you look at these patterns, and if you coordinate it with the movements of the leader of Russia, it appears you have a Putin detector," Humphreys said. In other words, if you detect spoofing, there's a good chance Putin may be nearby.

Read the full articles featuring Dr. Humphreys on CBS News and Foreign Policy. In addition, check out this segment from the Daily Show with Trevor Noah and an interactive version of the report, "Above Us Only Stars."

February 2019: During Brexit negotiations, the EU said the UK cannot retain full access to its Galileo satellite program after Brexit. In November, the UK government officially announced it would be pulling out of the system to concentrate on scoping an alternative system.

"Going it alone" could permit the UK to design a system built to the specifications of just one country without needing to meet the requirements imposed by all 28 EU member states. Starting your own global system “is not something you decide to give a shot to see how it goes. It’s a perpetual commitment,” Dr. Humphreys said. “In the US, it costs up to a billion dollars just to maintain our system every year.”

The UK Space Agency, now tendering a series of key contracts, has been given £92 million to conduct a feasibility study. The government expects it will take 18 months for this initial assessment. While opinions vary on the timetable for arriving at a fully-fledged system, Dr. Humphreys suggests that “if the UK had a clear mission and the funding, they could field a system in five years.”

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

August 2018: Drones are increasingly becoming a security hazard in many ways. These include the weaponization of drones, targeting of commercial flights, and even attacks on heads of state. Current countermeasures include jamming the signal between the drone and the user, or even shooting the drone, but these have their own limitations and legal problems.

“[One] could quite easily modify these drones so that they go into an autonomous mode after some point, and carry out their mission without any regard for the command coming from the ground,” Dr. Humphreys says. “If that’s the case, then you can’t simply ward off these drones by jamming.”

Perhaps new legislation will help improve these defensive measures.

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

August 2018: Drones have become more present and accessible in the last couple of years. Their increasing presence now poses as a security challenge for authorities worldwide. These drone threats include everything from the security of heads of state to unauthorized surveillance.

Defense strategies are being implemented to intercept drones being used in these ways. But they may not be enough. "It is very difficult to hit a drone that is coming at high speed, at 100 km/h (70 mph), and it's not hard to build drones that do that," Humphreys said." Even if you could hit one drone that came in at high speed, what if five or 10 of them attacked you all at once?"

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

August 2018: Once started as a military project, GPS has found its way into the pockets of people worldwide, but it isn’t just used for maps. In fact, it is a very precise clock for computers around the Earth. When the GPS network fell apart for hours in 2016, it showed the network’s vulnerability to interference from pigeon poop on cell towers to GPS spoofing.

Such methods “would certainly work against Ubers, Waymo’s self-driving cars, delivery drones from Amazon,” and more, says Todd Humphreys, an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Because GPS is so pervasive in today’s technology and economy, it needs to either be better protected or less relied upon. 

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

June 2018: Rumors are circling around an autonomous, supersonic stealth fighter jet developed by the Chinese military. A photo that appeared in early June 2018 depicts an aircraft with “several of the features of supersonic stealth warplanes.” If the rumors are indeed true, this aircraft will be the first of its kind.

But that’s a big if, says some critics, instead suggesting that the photo is a mock-up and not the real deal. Other’s disagree. “Given China’s historical interest in developing drones for combat, and their proven prowess in supersonic and stealthy aircraft,” Dr. Humphreys said, “My guess is that this photo shows a real working combat UAV, not a mock-up.”

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

A preliminary NTSB report involving the fatal Tesla crash in March has just be released. The report describes the accident:


 A Tesla Model X operating in Autopilot mode was originally following a car in front of it. Seven seconds before the crash, the system began steering left and accelerated into a highway barrier. The driver's hands were not on the wheel for the six seconds preceding the crash.



“What strikes me from the NTSB preliminary report is that the car was silent—no visual or auditory alert at all—as it drove straight into the concrete median barrier,” says Dr. Humphreys “Yet the car’s forward radar must surely have sensed the highly reflective crash attenuator mounted on the barrier.” The preliminary report does not address the cause of the accident. A final conclusion is due in the coming months. 


Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

The Uber self-driving vehicle involved in fatal accident earlier this year wasn’t set to stop in an emergency, states a preliminary NTSB report. The Uber vehicle, a Volvo sport-utility car, is equipped with automatic emergency braking, however the system was disabled by Uber to “reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior.”


According to the NTSB, the Volvo system decided 1.3 seconds before the impact that emergency braking was needed. “Over those critical 1.3 seconds, the car could have slowed down from 43 to 24 mph before the collision,” says Dr. Humphreys. “That would have given the pedestrian a better chance of surviving the collision.”


Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

Since its inception, global reliance on GPS has increased tremendously. The Department of Defense has recognized this dependence as a single point-of-failure and is seeking to augment GPS with other systems to mitigate the effect of GPS jamming and spoofing. The goal is not to replace GPS, only to augment it with other redundant systems.

One potential solution are pseudo-satellites: “transmitters deployed in terrestrial constellations and, potentially, in aerial vehicles.” Other systems might target situational awareness: identifying when GPS has been compromised and informing commanding officers when it occurs.

“Situational awareness is critical in the cyberwarfare realm… Spoofing attacks that succeed keep targets in the dark long enough to accomplish their objectives, says Todd Humphreys… Conversely, targets want to detect an attack as soon as possible so they can take corrective action.”

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

 The Russian military has been jamming US military drones in Syria for the past several weeks following a series of suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians in eastern Ghouta. The Russian military was concerned about retaliation and began jamming the GPS systems of drones, impacting US operations.


“Jamming, which means blocking or scrambling a drone’s reception…can be uncomplicated”, says Dr. Humphreys. “GPS receivers in most drones can be fairly easily jammed.“ 


Russia was caught jamming drones in Ukraine after the invasion of Crimea. The jammers has a significant impact on the United Nations surveillance fleet, grounding it for days.


Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.


Since GPS' inception in the 1970s, global reliance on the timing and positioning system has steadily increased. Today, GPS is used to do everything navigation to time-stamping financial transactions to dropping bombs. While GPS has certainly changed modern society for the better, researchers have become concerned with the global dependency on the service. What happens if it's suddenly not available?   


GPS is vulnerable to attacks like jamming and spoofing. Five years ago, Todd Humphreys and a group of researchers boarded an $80-million yacht and spoofed GPS signals to lead it off course. "During that experiment, none of the equipment on the yacht's bridge ever set off an alarm," said Todd Humphreys. "The spoofing was so subtle that the automated systems could not detect that anything was wrong."


Now researchers are scrambling to find a way to harden GPS against attacks. Many researchers are looking at integrating signals from different sources such as radio, TV, and cell signals. "For robustness, you really need multiple sources."


Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.


A self-driving Uber vehicle ran into and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, AZ on Sunday, March 18th. The video collected by the Tempe police show the moments leading up to the collision. The vehicle was traveling around 40 mph at around 10 pm at night when the vehicle struck a woman walking her bike across the road. The self-driving vehicle made no attempt to brake or swerve before the impact. The human operator was looking down for approximately five seconds before the crash.

Uber's vehicles are equipped with laser sensors, radar, and cameras used to detect its surroundings. "The video is damning for Uber", said Todd Humphreys. "This appears to have been a serious failure of the Uber perception system ... This accident calls into question Uber's ability to correctly and promptly interpret its data."

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

Next generation GPS chips will permit global localization to within 30 cm, a big step forward for self-driving vehicles among other applications. Broadcom has announced that their next generation GPS chips will use less battery, work in urban canyons, and will have an accuracy of 30 cm. Current GPS units have an accuracy of 3-5 meters, sufficient to determine which turn to take to navigate around a city, but not accurate enough for self-driving vehicles. 


“Todd E. Humphreys, associate professor of engineering at the University of Texas, said that one of the key advantages of autonomous vehicles is the ability to send them down the road in tight formations called “platoons.” Cars would be separated by just a few yards, reducing wind resistance by drafting like NASCAR drivers do, slashing fuel consumption and dramatically increasing the number of cars that could fit on a highway. But platooning will work only if each car knows its exact location, down to the foot.”


Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

GPS underpins many modern systems, from time stamping financial transactions to map creation and navigation, but the system is vulnerable. In Summer 2017, dozens of ships in the Black Sea suddenly reported that their GPS units were malfunctioning and displaying the ships as inland. Experts indicate that this was a GPS spoofing attack performed by Russia. "Do I think this is a sign that the spoofing is government backed or state sponsored?" said Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "I would have to say the evidence points to 'yes.' "


Until recently, GPS spoofing hasn’t been considered a threat. Recent events however, are changing minds. “We are dangerously vulnerable to spoofing,” Humphreys says. In 2012, Humphreys successfully spoofed a GPS unit on a yacht, taking over the navigation system and misguiding it. "We found that we didn't raise any alarms on the bridge," he said of the experiment. "The spoofing was clandestine."


Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

GPS isn't perfect; it it often off on the order of 1-10 meters, but it is almost never off by 25 miles. According to Gurvan Le Meur, the captain of a tanker traveling on the Black Sea in June this year, his GPS reported that the ship was located 25-30 miles from where it actually way. Furthermore--and perhaps most startling--the GPS was absolutely sure that it was at this new location. 


After restarting the equipment, the GPS was still incorrectly reporting the ship's position. It seemed not to be a device fault, rather a directed spoofing attack. The evidence indicates that the attack came from Russia, as the ships reported their locations around the Russian Gelendzhik airport.


This isn't the first time that spoofing has been detected in correspondence with Russia. GPS spoofing has reportedly occurred around the Kremlin, affecting cell phones and GPS-based navigation. This was particularly impactful on Yandex Taxi, a taxi service in Russia that relies on GPS to navigate around Moscow.


Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

Throughout several days in the end of June, over 20 ships reported problems with GPS reception in the Black Sea. According to experts, the problems were probably a result of an attack on the GPS infrastructure.


Logs from ships affected by the GPS spoofing have been recovered and the evidence appears conclusive that it was specifically a spoofing attack. One can clearly see the ships' GPS position being manipulated as the ships jump around the sea and a nearby Russian airport.


"The evidence points strongly to a spoofing attack. The captain’s account and the pictures he sent are quite convincing. And according to my sources it’s still ongoing, but at a lower signal strength", reports Dr. Humpreys. 


Read the full article featuring Dr Humphreys.

The US Navy is still investigating the causes behind the two US Navy collisions in the past two months. Many theories have been put forth, including GPS spoofing or jamming. Experts suggest that it is highly unlikely, but not impossible. 


GPS spoofing and jamming attacks are possible and have been demonstrated. GPS attacks likely caused ship navigation malfunctions in the Black Sea this summer where many ships suddenly reported that they were located inland Russia. Professor Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas successfully demonstrated such an attack in 2013 when he and his group of graduate students hijacked the navigation of a state-of-the-art yacht.


With regard to the US Navy ships, Professor Humphreys believes that the evidence is not indicative of GPS spoofing. Read the full article featuring Professor Humphreys.

An oil tanker collided with the USS John S. McCain near Singapore this week, injuring five sailors, starting a search for ten more missing sailors, and sparking concerns about potential GPS foul-play. 

"There's something more than just human error going on," says Jeff Stutzman, a chief intelligence officer. "Statistically, it looks very suspicious," Dr. Humphreys chimes in. GPS spoofing has been on the rise lately, affecting ships in the Black Sea last month.

As fully autonomous ships come online and our reliance on global shipping trade increases, concerns regarding the security of onboard electronic systems are on the rise. "It would be mayhem if the right team came in [the English Channel] and decided to do a spoofing attack."

Read the full McClatchy article featuring Dr. Humphreys.

Black Sea shipping is the latest target of GPS spoofing, according to captains of these ships in late June of this year. The GPS receivers aboard the ships began to act erratically, reporting that the ships were on land or too far out at sea.

Dr. Humphreys says the evidence indicates that this wasn't a case of signal jamming, rather it was a deliberate attack that falsifies GPS signals to misguide ships. Dr. Humphreys demonstrated in 2013 that this attack is legitimate and viable when he and his team used it to control a state-of-the-art yacht. 

"We've become so dependent on GPS that we have let the other systems atrophy", Dr. Humphreys warns. While there are ways to detect spoofing, we must not forget the other tools we have available and rely solely on GPS.

Listen to the five minute long podcast segment with Dr. Humphreys starting at 19:15.

In June of this year, reports surfaced of ships in the Black Sea experiencing problems with their satellite navigation. Their GPS receivers told them they were somewhere they weren't - something known as GPS spoofing.

Dr. Humphreys has long warned of the dangers of GPS spoofing. In 2013, he and his team performed a test of spoofing on a state-of-the-art yacht. According to Humphreys, these ships experienced the same thing, only this time it was not being done by researchers, but rather by a government entity.

Speaking to New Scientist, Dr. Humphreys said that "[GPS spoofing] affects safety-of-life operations over a large area. In congested waters with poor weather, such as the English Channel, it would likely cause great confusion, and probably collisions."

Read the full article here.

After a recent spoofing incident perpetrated by the Kremlin, the dangers of sensor spoofing for autonomous cars feels more real than ever. Dr. Humphreys spoke with Inverse about the vulnerabilities of autonomous cars and the threat of GPS spoofing. "Everybody’s primary fear is they’re traveling down the road in an autonomous car here and somehow hacks them remotely and takes them off to some far-off place and locks the door", said Dr. Humphreys. The Radionavigation Lab is hard at work to develop countermeasures to these problems, such as improving cryptography and developing better signal-detection detectors.

Read the full article here.

Two of Dr. Humphreys' students, Lakshay Narula and Matthew Murrian, were one of only eight teams chosen for the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship for 2017. Their project focuses on localizing pedestrians and cyclists to within half a meter, enabling self-driving vehicles to safely navigate with confidence. Their approach uses precise GNSS developed by Dr. Humphreys' lab in conjunction with other sensing modalities, including an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and a visible-light camera. 

Read more here. Congratulations to Lakshay and Matthew!


Today, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are no match for manned fighter pilots. US human pilots have shot down two of them this month alone. However, this could change. Speaking to Motherboard, the tech arm of Vice News, Dr. Todd Humphreys predicted that "UAVs will eventually achieve superiority" due to their ability to "pull G's far beyond what a human can withstand".

This transition could happen within the next 20 years, according to Dr. Humphreys. Read the full article here.

The rise of autonomous drones for commercial use promises new and exciting possibilities, but the threat of these drones being compromised by an attacker still looms. As more and more companies begin sending more and more drones into the skies, the question of security must be seriously examined. 

According to Dr. Humphreys, commercial drones remain "very hackable", with a number of attack vectors available. Read the full article here.

Earlier this year, reports started to surface on Russian media of a strange phenomenon. In certain areas of central Moscow, mostly within sight of the Kremlin walls, satellite signals were scrambled. Instead of showing true locations, people's phones were showing them almost 20 miles away at Vnukovo airport.

Dr. Humphreys spoke with CNN about the reported GPS spoofing occurring near the Kremlin. Read the full article here.

GPS World recently featured a paper authored by Dr. Humphreys and students from the Radionavigation Lab. The paper discusses the details of low-cost precise positioning, particularly in regards to autonomous driving.

In order to achieve this level of precision, a dense reference network is required. The paper outlines the implementation of RNL's own network, the Longhorn Reference Network. The paper also includes a demonstration of precise positioning being used for lane-keeping in autonomous vehicles.

Read the full paper here.

IEEE Spectrum recently featured an article discussing centimeter-accurate GPS positioning for automated driving. Dr. Todd Humphreys discussed why centimeter-accurate GPS positioning is necessary, as well as some of the challenges that have yet to be solved.

“When there’s a standard deviation of 10 cm, the probability of slipping into next lane is low enough—meaning 1 part in a million" [Humphreys] said. This is opposed to the current meter-level accurate GPS tracking, which can increase the probability of lane slipping up to 1 or 10 - or maybe higher.

However, there are still some obstacles remaining, one of which is the time it takes for a centimeter-accurate GPS signal to converge. Right now, that time could be up to 5 minutes. According to Humphreys, that amount of time would be unacceptable to most users: “My vision of the modern driver is one who’s impatient, who wants to snap into 10-cm-or-better accuracy and push the ‘autonomy’ button."

See a video overview here, or read the paper.


A recent NBC News article on the threat of GPS jamming and spoofing featured comments and insight from Dr. Todd Humphreys. The article also cites some interesting cases of intentional GPS jamming in Europe and the UK.

"The threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) — the critical space-based navigational, positional and timing network — is escalating as potentially more destructive "spoofing" devices become readily available."

"Humphreys estimates that ... "the difficulty of mounting a spoofing attack has dropped by maybe a factor of a hundred since 2012," when he first raised the alarm."

Read the full story on NBC News website.

Take a look at our latest paper on the topic:
GNSS Spoofing and Detection


Dr. Todd Humphreys recently co-authored an article on GPS spoofing defenses with Dr. Mark Psiaki. This article is the cover story of the August 2016 issue of IEEE Spectrum magazine.

"Cellphone towers, stock exchanges, and the power grid all rely at least partly on GPS for precise timing. A well-coordinated spoof could interrupt communications, confuse automated financial traders, and inflict crippling power outages. In a worst-case scenario, a spoofer’s operator could overtake airplanes or ships to induce a crash, facilitate a heist, or even kidnap a VIP."

"There are three main ways to protect against GPS spoofing: cryptography, signal-distortion detection, and direction-of-arrival sensing. No single method can stop every spoof, but Psiaki’s team has found that combining strategies can provide a reasonably secure countermeasure that could be commercially deployed."

Read the full story on IEEE Spectrum website.

Take a look at our latest paper on the topic:
GNSS Spoofing and Detection


Austin, TX -- Dr. Todd Humphreys and his students at the UT Radionavigation Lab recently demonstrated lane-departure warning system at the University of Texas at Austin campus deployed on a vehicle.

"While it may only be a centimeter at a time, what a University of Texas at Austin professor and his team have been able to accomplish is a monumental step in making autonomous vehicles a part of everyday life."

"By working with local start-up, RadioSense, and using an app called Lane Watcher, the team is now able to demonstrate the accuracy of the GPS technology. Though the app won’t need to be used with the GPS, it helps to demonstrate visually what’s going on in the brains of the car. The app will show your vehicle on the road and immediately change colors when the car begins to drift."

Read the full story and watch the video on KXAN website.

Take a look at our latest papers on the topic:
A Dense Reference Network For Mass Market Centimeter Accurate Positioning
On the Feasibility of cm-Accurate Positioning via a Smartphone's Antenna and GNSS Chip


Austin, TX -- Dr. Todd Humphreys and his students at the UT Radionavigation Lab have built an outdoor arena for testing automated drones as a part of the Machine Games project. KXAN News recently covered this story.

"There is a lot to learn when it comes to the technology behind drones and how it could eventually affect our everyday lives. That’s what researchers at the University of Texas are looking to answer with the Machine Games project."

"The overall goal of the project is to make drones a part of everyday life, helping with tasks from searching for an open parking spot to delivering a pizza without human assistance. UT Professor Todd Humphreys says that drone technology is primitive and they are in the beginning stages of discovering all it can really do in the next few years."

Read the full story and watch the video on KXAN website.


The New Yorker featured an article on GPS: its importance in our lives and its vulnerability to spoofing attacks. Research related to GPS spoofing at the UT Radionavigation Lab was the center of attention in this write-up by Greg Milner.

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security classifies sixteen infrastructure sectors—including dams, agriculture, health care, emergency services, and information technology—as critical, and therefore particularly vulnerable to sabotage. All but three require G.P.S. for essential functions." ... "An expert in software-defined radio—the modification of radio signals with a computer, as opposed to mixers, amplifiers, and other hardware—Humphreys used a general-purpose processor to build what he calls a “formidable lying machine,” a box that “listens” to the G.P.S. signal, gradually builds a bogus signal that aligns perfectly with the real, and then slowly overtakes it."

Read the full story on The New Yorker website.


Austin, TX -- "Imagine a GPS that can place you within a centimeter of where you are located on a map. This type of accuracy would not only help keep you and your family safe, but it could potentially help drivers navigate the roads better. It’s called precise vehicle positioning and it’s 100 times more accurate than your standard GPS. University of Texas professor Todd Humphreys has been working on the project for four years." 

The UT Radionavigation Lab is working on making Austin the first city in the world with mass-market centimeter-accurate GPS. To acquire this accuracy, 20 solar powered reference stations will be placed around Austin by the end of May. You can think of this network of 20 reference stations as smart infrastructure that make it possible to use a $50 device, instead of a $500 or $5000 device, to locate a bicyclist, a bus, or a car within its lane of travel. KXAN news covered this story featuring Dr. Humphreys and his students.

Read the full story and watch the video clip on the KXAN website.

Take a look at our latest papers on the topic:
A Dense Reference Network For Mass Market Centimeter Accurate Positioning
On the Feasibility of cm-Accurate Positioning via a Smartphone's Antenna and GNSS Chip


Berkeley, CA -- Dr. Humphreys delivered the Hyundai Distinguished Lecture at UC Berkeley.  The seminar series is a feature of the Hyundai Center of Excellence at UC Berkeley.  

Precise and reliable location is one of the primary challenges of vehicle automation. Driver safety demands utter reliability yet the economics of the mass market demand commodity-level costs. In his presentation, Dr. Humphreys argued that low-cost and robust centimeter-accurate satellite navigation is possible and is a must-have component of automated vehicle sensor suites. Such a system under development at the University of Texas at Austin is 100 times more precise than standard GPS and 100 times less expensive than existing precision GPS systems.

Download the presentation.

Take a look at our latest papers on the topic:
A Dense Reference Network For Mass Market Centimeter Accurate Positioning
On the Feasibility of cm-Accurate Positioning via a Smartphone's Antenna and GNSS Chip


“For at least two years, the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad could see what the Israeli military’s surveillance drones saw. That’s the accusation of Israeli prosecutors, who this week arrested a man [Maagad Ben Juwad Oydeh] they saw hacked into the drones’ video feeds. Israeli authorities have provided only the barest details of Oydeh’s background and alleged crimes. The drone hack is possibly the most dramatic of Oydeh’s alleged crimes, if not the most useful for terrorist planners.”

Dr. Todd Humphreys and Dr. Richard Langley (University of New Brunswick) explain how Oydeh could have managed to hack the drones' video feed, and how Israeli authorities may have come to know about it.

Read the article on


Dr. Todd Humphreys wrote an article for the February 2016 issue of IEEE ComSoc Technology News.

“Professor Todd Humphreys, an expert in the James Bond world of faking out GPS signaling, tells us what the latest news is for the reliability of the GPS systems that have become increasingly important to our everyday lives. Will GPS become the next front in the war between the modern world and the hackers and terrorists who wish to disrupt it? If so it will be engineers and not super spies who will save the day.”

Read the article on


A recent article on Wired featured comments from Dr. Humphreys's Congressional testimony on the threat of rogue UAVs.

“With only minor changes to [a] UAV’s autopilot software, of which highly capable open-source variants exist, an attacker could readily disable geofencing and could configure the UAV to operate under ‘radio silence,’ ignoring external radio control commands and emitting no radio signals of its own” ... “Imposing restrictions on small UAVs beyond the sensible restrictions the Federal Aviation Administration recently proposed would not significantly reduce the threat of rogue UAVs yet would shackle the emerging commercial UAV industry”.

Read the article on


The UT Radionavigation Lab featured on NBC Nightly News with Kristen Welker on October 31, 2015. The segment focused on anti-UAV techniques developed by Dr. Humphreys and his students, which have come into the spotlight following the inadvertent landing of a drone at the White House.

The news segment can be viewed at the NBS News website.

Todd Humphreys

Austin, TX—Dr. Todd Humphreys delivered a keynote presentation at the 2015 Texas GIS Forum, where he talked about rendering of geo-referenced decimeter accurate maps using Low-Cost Mobile Positioning on a smartphone along with the smartphone's camera.

This presentation focused on techniques for performing carrier-phase differential positioning using a low-quality antenna, and generation of an accurate 3-dimensional point cloud using a smartphone. The points in the generated map are geo-referenced which enables distributed generation of maps, unlike the standard computer vision techniques where a continuous sequence of overlapping images is required.

The presentation can be downloaded from here.


Minneapolis, MN—Dr. Todd Humphreys delivered a seminar at the Roadway Safety Insititute at University of Minnesota, where he talked about Low-Cost Centimeter-Accurate Mobile Positioning with attention to application in Vehicular Networks. GNSS, along with other sensors, will be a part of the Connected (Semi-) Autonomous Vehicles of the future, and accurate location and timing via GNSS is an important aspect of roadway safety.

The primary barrier to performing centimeter-accurate carrier-phase-differential GNSS (CDGNSS) positioning on smartphones and other consumer devices is their low-cost, low-quality GNSS antennas that have poor multipath suppression. The time correlation of multipath errors and their magnitude significantly increases the initialization period of GNSS receivers using low-cost antennas.

This presentation focused on techniques for reducing the initialization time for centimeter-accurate positioning on mobile devices. It further examined technical and market prerequisites for improved safety for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, globally registered augmented and virtual reality, and crowd-sourced three-dimensional mapping.

Watch the full length presentation at Roadway Safety Institute webpage.

Tampa, FL—Nathan Green nathanwon the best paper presentation award in the Advanced Technologies in High Precision GNSS Positioning Session of the ION GNSS+ 2015 conference for his paper entitled "Fault Free Integrity of Mid-Level Voting for Triplex Differential GPS Solutions."

Details about the session proceedings: Session E1: Advanced Technologies in High Precision GNSS Positioning 1.

Scientific American Logo

"Amazon badly wants to deliver packages of DVDs and Cheez-Its to your doorstep in a matter of minutes—and it wants to use drones to do so. At a NASA convention in July, Amazon Prime Air’s vice president proposed the company’s vision for how unmanned aircraft could one day safely navigate our skies. And NASA recently began testing its first version of an air traffic management system for drones—the agency is partnering with companies including Amazon and Verizon to develop the system."

"For now, regulations and technical issues make widespread drone deliveries impossible, which means an army of flying machines probably will not fetch your holiday gifts this year or even the next. Here’s what experts note as the major challenges to resolve before delivery by drone becomes a reality."

Continue reading the article at Scientific American, which features comments by Dr. Humphreys.

Ken Pesyna, Jr.

Mountain View, CA—Ken Pesyna, a doctoral candidate at The University of Texas Electrical Engineering School, has been selected to receive the 2015 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award. The 28-year-old researcher will receive the award at the Royal Society in London on October 20, 2015. 

“Ken’s work on centimeter-accurate and power efficient GPS may have turned conventional wisdom about this field on its head,” says Bob Tkach, a Marconi Fellow and chairman of the Young Scholar selection committee. “His ability not only to develop a new theory but to prove it in practice was truly impressive. Ken is on track to make breakthrough contributions in our field.”

Continue reading the announcement from the Marconi Society.

The National PNT Advisory Board invited Dr. Humphreys to speak at their "GPS toughening" working group meeting on June 10 and then to present before the full Advisory Board on June 11.  His presentation concerned GPS navigation message authentication as a means of "toughening" GPS receivers against unintentional and intentional GPS spoofing.  As part of the presentation, Humphreys offered a categorization and an ordering of spoofing attacks and defenses that will be a good starting point for a proper civil GPS threat assessment.

See the meeting agenda, the posted slides (pdf) for "Toughening Techniques for GPS Receivers: Navigation Message Authentication," and the full presentation (pptx).  

The Cockrell School of Engineering and the Student Engineering Council (SEC) presented Dr. Todd Humphreys with the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award for the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics on April 30th, 2015.  Awardees are selected within each department by the SEC on the basis of nominations from undergraduate students.  The Radionavigation Lab's Deep Mukherji presented Dr. Humphreys with the award at the annual SEC awards banquet.

Apple and Coherent Navigation

Apple confirmed on May 16, 2015 that they have acquired the startup Coherent Navigation, which Dr. Humphreys co-founded in 2008 together with Clark Cohen (CEO at founding), Bill Bencze (VP of Engineering), Brent Ledvina (VP of Business Development), Mark Psiaki, and Mike Eglington. Dr. Humphreys left Coherent Navigation in 2009 to join the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, but continued to collaborate as a private consultant and sub-contractor until the acquisition. Congratulations to the Coherent Navigation team for their hard work over the years -- especially to Brent Ledvina and Bill Bencze, the two co-founders who shepherded the venture all the way through acquisition. Congratulations also to other key players: Paul Lego (CEO of Coherent Navigation at the time of acquisition), Isaac Miller (CTO of Coherent Navigation), and Rob Brumley (COO of Coherent Navigation). Never in recent memory has there been assembled such a concentration of position, navigation, and timing expertise in a single startup as in Coherent Navigation.

The acquisition was covered by MacRumors, the New York Times, and other news agencies.

IEEE Spectrum

"Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin have now made a small, cheap GPS system for mobile devices that gives centimeter-precision positioning accuracy. Such centimeter precision could let drones deliver packages to your porch, autonomous vehicles navigate safely, and be used in precision farming. It could also allow for some neat virtual reality tricks and games if coupled with a smartphone camera.

Continue reading the IEEE Spectrum article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.


"AUSTIN, Texas—Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a centimeter-accurate GPS-based positioning system that could revolutionize geolocation on virtual reality headsets, cellphones and other technologies, making global positioning and orientation far more precise than what is currently available on a mobile device.

Continue reading the UT press release, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.


"AUSTIN - If you use your smartphone for directions, you know how annoying it can be when the tracking device gets your locations wrong. Now a team of researchers at the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering say they may have fixed that problem.  But there’s more: They also think they’ve brought a science fiction dream closer to reality.  In the space adventure series Star Trek canon, the holodeck was a room where the characters could create virtual worlds and interact within them.

Continue reading the KUT article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.


"AUSTIN - In this Tech Tuesday, a tool we use all the time is getting better and it's all thanks to research at the University of Texas. "We use GPS in a variety of ways including getting around, but the University of Texas is about to make GPS systems much more valuable. 'We have developed a way to get low-cost, very precise locations, centimeter precise locations,' said Todd Humphreys, Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas.

Continue reading the KVUE article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

Dr. Humphreys and Secretary Foxx

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx was hosted by the Radionavigation Lab and other members of WNCG and CTR for a discussion on the future of transportation.  The discussion covered secure perception for autonomous systems and also centimeter-accurate low-cost positioning for intelligent transportation systems and for virtual reality.

Read more about Secretary Foxx's visit in a WNCG article.  

AP"NEW YORK (AP) — To improve airline safety, maybe we need to remove the pilots.

"That radical idea is decades away, if it ever becomes a reality. But following the intentional crashing of Germanwings Flight 9525 by the co-pilot, a long-running debate over autonomous jets is resurfacing. At the very least, some have suggested allowing authorities on the ground to take control of a plane if there is a rogue pilot in the cockpit.

Continue reading the AP article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

NSFDr. Humphreys has been selected to receive the NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to study “Secure Perception for Autonomous Systems.”  

The award was announced in a press release from the Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department at UT-Austin.   View the NSF's summary of all the 2015 recipients of the CAREER award.  


Todd HumphreysDr. Humphreys testified at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, titled "Unmanned Aerial System Threats: Exploring Security Implications and Mitigation Technologies," on March 18, 2015.  View the oral and written testimony at the website of the Committee.  The full video is accessed from the upper right hand corner of the page.

The hearing was discussed in a CNN article and an Inside Unmanned Aerial Systems article.  Dr. Humphreys authored an op-ed in the Star-Telegram on the same subject. 

CBS Overnight America discusses the problem of preventing drones from entering restricted areas.   Listen to a segment of the radio show, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

NBC News"Mysterious, middle-of-the-night drone flights by the U.S. Secret Service during the next several weeks over parts of Washington — usually off-limits as a strict no-fly zone — are part of secret government testing intended to find ways to interfere with rogue drones or knock them out of the sky, The Associated Press has learned. A U.S. official briefed on the plans said the Secret Service was testing drones for law enforcement or protection efforts and to look for ways, such as signal jamming, to thwart threats from civilian drones. The drones were being flown between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.

Access the NBC news article and video, which includes an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

Ken PesynaAustin, TX—Ken Pesyna gave a GPS World webinar on GNSS antennas. You can view the webinar recording, or the related paper and magazine article.

IEEE Computer Society"No system or software designer, innovator, or inventor has a perfect record. As with baseball sluggers, a 33 percent success rate with significant projects—delivered on time without errors—probably qualifies you as a superstar. So the act of coming up with a bad idea, or a failed implementation thereof, doesn't disqualify you from getting kudos.  But there are consumer-level bad ideas and industrial strength bad ideas. The latter are the more worrisome, especially if they recur with any frequency. As such, I’ll deal with them here.

Continue reading the IEEE Computer article, which discusses Dr. Humphrey's research.