Navigation is indispensable in our daily lives. You will often use a car navigation system or smartphone app to get directions to your destination. These techniques use GPS signals from satellites, and they have been very successful.
However, GPS signals do not reach everywhere. Some of you may have experienced the loss of GPS signals in tunnels or subways.
If the GPS signal is lost for a short period of time, it is possible to catch the signal again and correct your location immediately. However, what happens in places where the GPS signal is not available for a long period of time, or where the GPS signal cannot reach? There, an inertial navigation system (INS) is needed as a non-GPS navigation system.
Roughly speaking, an INS is a device that constantly records how much you have accelerated and how much you have rotated from your starting point and calculates your current position and orientation based on this information.
In the deep sea or distant space, this INS is necessary because GPS signals cannot reach. However, if the performance of the device is inadequate, the calculated information about position and orientation will be inaccurate. Especially when used for a long period, these errors can accumulate and become large.
We develop an ultra-high-precision navigation technology ‘a quantum inertial navigation system’ that demonstrates unprecedented performance by using state-of-the-art photon-based quantum and quantum-inspired technologies. This would allow, for example, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) carrying our equipment to survey the submarine energy resources around Japan for extended periods. It could also contribute to space projects such as deep space exploration. In this way, we expect to see a dramatic development of activities in places where GPS signals cannot reach.