Terahertz Relative Positioning: An Alternative to GPS for Aircraft Flying in Formation
Parker, John Scott.
Abstract: A new
terahertz-frequency (THz) relative positioning capability is developed and demonstrated
in simulation for the formation flight of cargo aircraft. Formation flight is used by
the military for a wide variety of applications. This work specifically considers the
precision airdrop of personnel and supplies over hostile territory. During these
operations, aircraft must maintain ... read moreprecise relative positioning; however, the current
technology is flawed because radio signals are easy to detect and GPS is easily jammed.
We propose using THz signals, the unique propagation properties of which provide both
stealth and robustness to jamming. THz is a nascent technology with growing interest,
particularly for high-speed wireless communications. To the author's knowledge, this is
the first exploration of its potential for positioning. This dissertation develops
methods for the measurement of range and bearing angle from the THz signal and a
communication scheme to transmit altitude measurements over the THz link. These
measurements are then fused together in a Kalman filter to estimate the aircrafts'
relative positions. Results from an integrated simulation demonstrate that the THz
system is capable of precisely measuring the position, with cross-track errors of 11 m,
two-sigma, at separations of 2 km, well within the 50 m requirements for the precision
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Jason Rife.
Committee: Pratap Misra, Usman Khan, and Kevin Kremeyer.
Keywords: Mechanical engineering, and Communication.read less