Viasat successfully demonstrates a UK satellite-based augmentation system (UK SBAS)

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Connectivity, Innovation

Last week, Viasat, Inc. hit a milestone, successfully demonstrating a UK satellite-based augmentation system (UK SBAS). Using ground monitoring data and satellite connectivity, UK SBAS can give positioning within a few centimetres of accuracy enhancing the reliability of onboard instruments for pilots, especially during bad weather.

As a result of Brexit, the UK has limited access to the EU’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and this trial showed that the UK-based SBAS delivers more precise and reliable navigation data.

The press release explained that although EGNOS can still be used for non-safety applications in the UK, this trial is a step towards a complementary UK SBAS which can be used for critical safety of life navigation services across air, land, and sea.

According to Viasat’s research, up to 40 per cent of flights cancelled due to weather could have happened if UK SBAS had been available for its fleet. The trial, funded by the Department of Transport, demonstrates how highly accurate GPS data can maximise safety and improve efficiency.

Todd McDonnell, President, International Government, Viasat, said:

“This trial on a sovereign UK SBAS is all about delivering trust. Trust for pilots in their tracking systems so they can stay safe in challenging conditions. Trust for the aviation industry more broadly so it can rely on data to operate more efficiently. And, in the future, trust that we can use highly accurate tracking to develop Britain’s transport system as new technologies come into play. We’re excited to continue the trial and see how far we can take it.”

Now the aviation stage has been completed, the trial will move forward, testing the system for other transport applications including rail, uncrewed aerial vehicles, and autonomous road vehicles.


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