Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2020: Tamper-proof satellite navigation
For their robust, trustworthy and tamper-proof receiver technology, Dr. Wolfgang Felber, Dr. Günter Rohmer and Alexander Rügamer (from left to right) received the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize.
Many applications depend on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) – from navigation systems to power grids, stock exchanges and communication infrastructure. But GNSS is by no means invulnerable: jammers have disrupted satnav reception data and spoofers have fooled the systems by providing them with incorrect information about the time and place. Until now, though, there has been no alternative to unprotected GNSS signals for the civilian sector.
Now a research team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Nuremberg has closed this gap with a robust, tamper-proof receiver based on European navigation signals whose output is permissible as evidence in court – more precisely the Public Regulated Service (PRS). The PRS system is the world’s first encrypted signal for use in the civilian sector. It is robust enough to foil jamming and manipulation. A great deal of critical infrastructure such as power grids, IT and cellular networks depends on satellite navigation, as do the police, fire service and customs. The first generation of PRS receivers is already being evaluated in police cars and fire engines to gain further experience for future products.
This pioneering work, especially in the field of server-based crypto receivers and systems, was honored with the 2020 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize, which was accepted on behalf of the team by Alexander Rügamer, Dr. Günter Rohmer and Dr. Wolfgang Felber.