A leading expert on navigation is warning that the reliance on GPS could have catastrophic consequences if the system is hacked or otherwise disabled.
The Telegraph reports that there have been incidents of people discovering their location is incorrect and that GPS has been manipulated “on a previously-unimagined scale.”
It points to sat navs, services like Uber, farming and even timekeeping that rely on GPS and that it is worth £6.7bn to the British economy alone.
The Telegraph quotes Captain James Taylor, a former naval officer and president of the Royal Institute of Navigation as saying “the average ambulance does not have a map on board” in some areas and that he is concerned the world has become complacent about satellite system security.
It also quotes Prof David Last, a consultant on GPS-related criminal cases, saying that jammers are used to stop people tracking them and that “spoofing” where a signal is manipulated, is also on the rise.
The report says that a solution may be to not rely on GPS as much, but to reinvest in an updated version of Loran, a terrestrial navigation system developed in World War II what uses stations on the ground and carries a more powerful signal making jamming and spoofing more difficult.