PLaNS: An Autonomous Local Navigation System


PLaNS is a Thales Alenia Space Italia patented solution (US Patent 8,473,118) based on Ultra-wideband (UWB) radio providing local navigation and backup communication service to both manned and unmanned units. The goal of the solution is to allow easily instrumenting a given area (e.g., by dropping or throwing sensors) with an accurate and reliable navigation and communication system that does not require onsite setup activities or preliminary knowledge of the coordinates/positions of the beacons. PLaNS has been initially conceived to support planetary missions but thanks to its capabilities it can be well exploited also on a variety of Earth applications requiring a self-contained, portable and scalable communication and navigation infrastructure. In this paper, we present the main capabilities of PLaNS together with an overview of its architecture, operational scenarios and use cases and field performance test results achieved with our developed prototype.

In Proceedings of the 31st International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+), September 2018