The dangers of the malicious jamming of global navigational satellite signals (GNSS) – including their targeted substitution with fraudulent data – is currently the subject of heated debate in the media, academia and international communications industries.

    To help mitigate, control and eliminate such risks in the future, innovITS ADVANCE is offering a new service enabling developers of automotive intelligent transport systems (ITS) technologies to submit their products to simulated attacks and hence provide the basis for the development of in-built system robustness

    Since its launch in 2011, the innovITS ADVANCE test facility has been equipped with the NSL ‘Skyclone’ system that enables users to replicate precisely the effects of GNSS degradation and denial of service: for example, high rise buildings and their associated ‘urban canyons’.  So while innovITS ADVANCE has the visible appearance of a network of urban roads surrounded by grassed level ground, for the vehicles under test the conditions of GNSS denial can be made to precisely replicate anything from a high-rise environment, similar to New York’s Lower Manhattan or London’s Docklands, to a low-rise industrial estate or suburban sprawl punctuated by the occasional open space.

    With the new service now being offered by innovITS ADVANCE, this same infrastructure, in addition to the centre’s highly controllable private GSM and WiFi networks, will be used to address the needs of system robustness development against a wide range of malicious threats.

    “GPS signals are now very much a part of almost every aspect of day-to-day life,” said innovITS ADVANCE business development manager Steven Warner. “In addition to their use in automotive navigation through the ubiquitous sat nav, its timing signals are used extensively for everything from telecommunications to financial transactions – all of which makes it vulnerable to malicious attack from an extremely wide range of sources. The communications industry is rapidly developing counter-measures to combat current and potential threats, but until now it has lacked the ability to physically test the robustness of new products subjected to denial or malicious corruption of signals.”

    Using the new service offered by innovITS ADVANCE the centre’s automotive and telecoms customers will be able to simulate almost any form of GNSS corruption using the SkyClone system. In addition to this, they can assess the combination of these scenarios with parallel interruption and corruption of GSM and WiFi signals using the centre’s private telecoms networks which can be controlled at an individual mast and beacon level.

    “This new service provides a much needed capability to combat the very real threats of denial and corruption of navigational signals, enabling developers to build in robustness to their new ITS products innovations from the very outset,” continues Warner. “As such, this service will be a significant enabler for the realisation of safe and effective vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies aimed at improving both the safety and efficiency of transportation.”



    innovITS is the UK ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) Centre for Excellence for Transport Telematics and Technology for Sustainable Mobility. It was set up by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills(BIS) as a non-profit making organization in 2005 and has the fundamental objective of achieving a world-class position for the UK ITS industry. innovITS brings together expertise from the Automotive, Highways and Telecommunications industries to build collaborative partnerships, seeking out inventive telematics technologies to integrate on a realistic scale and validate that it delivers value to road users and transport operators. As a result, it acts as a catalyst for the subsequent promotion, deployment and commercial exploitation of these technologies and technology providers on a global scale.

    innovITS – ADVANCE is the result of a collaboration between innovITS, MIRA Ltd, one of the world’s leading automotive design and development organisations, and TRL, the UK’s internationally recognised Transport Research Laboratory, a leader in research and development of ITS solutions and strategic applications. The facility is hosted at the Nuneaton headquarters site of MIRA.

    Examples of the type of projects, which might be carried out by innovITS ADVANCE customers, include:

    • Collision avoidance and mitigation
    • Driver behaviour studies
    • Intersection safety
    • Vulnerable road user detection
    • Robustness in poor reception areas
    • Electric vehicle charging development
    • Road sign detection
    • Traffic management
    • Advanced driver assistance systems
    • Time/distance position based charging
    • Autonomous vehicles
    • Denial of service response