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Talk-08: Ionobot: An Autonomous Moving Platform Measuring Ionospheric Fluctuations for Extended Periods of Time

Speaker: Lance Neil, MIT

Jessica Brooks, Brad Barquest, Hody Lambert, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Fluctuations in ionization levels in the atmosphere lead to diffraction & refraction of GPS signals. This effect causes a time delay in the GPS signal, leading to inaccuracies in pinpoint location. A platform is suggested to measure these fluctuations in the upper part of the atmosphere from 90-400 km above the surface of the Earth, known as the ionosphere. Using data from this platform, corrections that will greatly improve accuracy can be made to GPS overseas. The platform will operate in the Kwajalein Atoll, an island in the Pacific Ocean. The platform must be able to stay within a 2 km radius of a desired set of coordinates, generate power for 6 months of operation, and store and send data to a ground-based station. This platform in its current realization is the Ionobot. The Ionobot is an autonomous surface vessel which when complete will use MOOS middleware to perform autonomous navigation, sensor integration, and radio communication - all while being controlled and monitored from a remote location.


  • USVs
  • Environmental Monitoring