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Saratov scientists develop geomagnetic navigation technology alternative to GPS, GLONASS

"The geomagnetic navigation system may be indispensable, for example, in the event of disappearance of a satellite signal," Alexander Ignatyev from the Institute of Critical Technologies says

SARATOV, September 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Saratov scientists have developed the first domestic geomagnetic field navigation technology system that may become an alternative to the currently existing satlellite-aided navigation systems GPS and GLONASS, Alexander Ignatyev, head of the design bureau at the Institute of Critical Technologies, told ITAR-TASS on Monday.

"The geomagnetic navigation system may be indispensable, for example, in the event of disappearance of a satellite signal. From the viewpoint of orientation accuracy, our (newly-developed) system is up to the selfsame GLONASS," Ignatyev emphasized.

Valery Anikin, Dean of the Physic Department at Saratov University, stressed, "This does not refer to an assumption that one of systems would edge another one out. However, from the safety point of view, it is better for them to co-exist and mutually complement one another if, for example, something happens with communications satellites".

The development of geomagnetic navigation systems is one of upcoming trends of research, Anikin pointed out. The Saratov school of magnetoelectronics has a long record. This is why it is no wonder that a practical development of a new navigation system is under way precisely over here," he said.

Ignatyev said that the uniqueness of the project is in the fact that both navigation technology and software are developed domestically. A number of technical solutions have been patented by the researchers.

The first experimental specimen of a (geomagnetic) navigator has been brought into being as well. The specimen is "bulky enough so far. However, we visualize the possibility to reduce it in size by several orders of magnitude. For this to be done, it is necessary that firms which manufacture components evince interest in the technology," the development engineer maintains.

The prospect for a geomagnetic navigation device appearing on the commercial market is estimated by development engineers at several years. Similar systems are now also under development in foreign countries.

A geomagnetic navigation system exists in the animal kingdom as well. Researchers believe, in particular that the sense of terrestrial magnetic field helps birds and butterflies migrate to places of their permanent wintering.