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Q-CTRL and Australia’s Department of Defense to develop GPS alternative

Berenice Baker, Editor, Enter Quantum

July 12, 2023

1 Min Read
Satellite image of earth with a grid superimposed
Q-CTRL's quantum-assure navigation will work where GPS does not. Getty

Q-CTRL and Australia’s Department of Defense plan to jointly develop a quantum-assured navigation capability for military platforms using Q-CTRL’s software-ruggedized quantum sensing technology.

GPS can become unavailable or unreliable in hostile environments often encountered during military operations and can be spoofed by adversaries. Current alternatives to GPS such as inertial navigation are subject to cumulative errors the longer the platform is out of range or GPS, which could lead to being miles off course within a few hours.

Q-CTRL’s technology uses quantum sensors that detect motion and small changes in the Earth’s gravitational field to enable navigation over extended periods. Quantum sensors are considered more reliable than existing mechanical or electrical systems that can degrade over time because they rely on the fundamental laws of physics.

“From day one we knew that our specialized expertise in quantum control could unlock totally new applications of quantum technology,” said Q-CTRL CEO and founder Michael Biercuk.

“We’ve shown we can boost the performance of quantum computers and quantum sensors by orders of magnitude - entirely through software. Now we’re pleased to be applying these capabilities to a critical defense mission for Australia.”

Related:What Quantum Control Systems Do

“Defense recognizes that quantum sensing has the potential to fundamentally transform defense capability,” said the interim head of the Department of Defense’s advanced strategic capabilities accelerator Emily Hilde.

“Partnerships of this kind demonstrate our capacity to translate innovative concepts into capability, delivered by a world-class Australian deep-tech company.”  

The contract is part of a multi-year effort to field-deploy and validate miniaturized systems on military platforms. Q-CTRL’s quantum sensing division previously worked with partners including Advanced Navigation and the Australian army to demonstrate and deliver quantum navigation technology for applications including remote drone detection.  

About the Author(s)

Berenice Baker

Editor, Enter Quantum

Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.

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