U.S. Transportation Department awards $7M for positioning, navigation and timing technology companies

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced it had awarded contracts to nine companies support critical Global Positioning System infrastructure.

The Complementary Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) technology vendors will receive funding that will ultimately enable the DOT to conduct real-world field tests of commercial PNT technologies that will facilitate their adoption into systems that depend upon secure and reliable PNT services.

Awarded through the Volpe Center, the $7.2 million in awards provide funding for instrumentation, testing and evaluation of Complementary PNT technologies at field test ranges. Part of the Rapid Phase of the DOT’s Complementary PNT Action Plan, the field test will be held in conjunction with critical infrastructure owners and operators. The goal, officials said, was to improve PNT resiliency through Complementary PNT technologies.

“DOT is impressed with the quality of the proposal responses and received more proposals than could be funded under Simplified Acquisition Procedure guidelines. DOT intends to move expeditiously to issue a Complementary PNT Rapid Phase II solicitation to expand the set of Complementary PNT technologies to be evaluated,” DOT Chief Science Officer Dr. Robert C. Hampshire said.

Among the awards were $144,599 for NAL Research for Low Earth Orbit Technology; $1,498,692 for Microchip for Time Over Fiber technology; and $1,876,968 for NextNav for Terrestrial Radiofrequency technology.

The department said the funding comes at a time when Global Navigation Satellite Services, especially GPS, are suffering from jamming or spoofing. In conflict zones, PNT services are seeing disruption, denial and manipulation which is increasing concerns about safety across all transportation modes, and for the security of U.S. critical infrastructure. PNT resiliency is one of many steps taken by the Biden administration to strengthen cybersecurity and improve the reliability of critical infrastructure applications, officials said.