infiniDome: Resilient Navigation to Enable the Autonomous World
infiniDome is a GPS Security Company developing GPS protection and resilient navigation solutions tailored for defending UAVs, vehicles, and critical infrastructure assets from jamming attacks making the next generation of unmanned autonomy safe. GPS (GNSS) jamming is the easiest way to bring down a drone now, and infiniDome is disrupting the defense and HLS UAV protection market today and the commercial UAV/UAM market tomorrow.
infiniDome’s patented Phased-Array Anti-Jamming technology protects GPS (GNSS) receivers from jamming. The technology combines patterns from multiple omni-directional antennas in real-time to create a new pattern that attenuates the strong jamming signals. infiniDome solutions are retrofit and could be added on almost effortlessly to any GNSS-based system as they are compatible with any GNSS receivers and off-the-shelf antennas.
The Autonomous World is Built On (Unprotected) GPS
GPS jammers are very effective in compromising safety and security in autonomous vehicles (in the air, sea, or ground) that are almost entirely GPS-dependent due to the extremely weak power of the GNSS signals received here on earth. GPS-related catastrophes are due to an increase in the use of jamming devices which can be easily bought online for as little as US$20, year over year. Such a simple and cheap device can block all GNSS signals in a radius of more than 100 meters and could be amplified easily with electronics bought on Radio Shack. infiniDome saw the need for innovative solutions that provide navigation resiliency as the adoption of autonomous systems grows exponentially and is used in more complex applications where existing anti-jamming solutions are fully militarized (heavy, large, power-hungry, and expensive) and simply don’t fit.
In today’s highly interconnected world, accurate position, navigation, and timing (PNT) is an absolute necessity for many industries in that the economy is built. infiniDome’s GPSdome 1 was released in 2019 and built with very stringent C-SWAP (Cost Size Weight and Power) limitations, delivering the first-ever dual-use, GPS protection solution relevant for even light, class-1 drones.
Today, infiniDome’s products are becoming known as the preferred choice in GPS anti-jamming solutions for small-medium Unmanned Aerial Systems, Truck Fleets, and Critical Infrastructure timing servers – all applications that had no access to GPS protection before.
Born from a Simple Need
Leveraging his deep knowledge and experience in the GPS timing and synchronization world, Omer Sharar co-founded infiniDome in 2016, intending to protect wireless communications of autonomous vehicles, drones, fleets, and critical infrastructure from jamming and spoofing attacks. He is the CEO of the company.
With an extensive background in GNSS-based synchronization and timing solutions, Omer tried to find existing solutions for GPS protection for PNT systems for his Sync & Timing customer base in Israel (ranging from Telcos, and banks to government missile defense systems using GNSS as the primary source of timing). As all existing solutions were large, heavy, expensive, and highly classified, the need for a new solution was recognized by Omer; one that fits not only fighter jets and helicopters but also multi-copters, and fixed-wing UAVs, vehicles, and even critical infrastructure timing systems.
GPSdome: Bringing Resilience to Autonomous Operations
According to Omer, the defense world is changing. Government customers no longer want a few large, expensive and powerful manned vehicles whether on the ground, air, or maritime but prefer smaller, less expensive, or expendable unmanned vehicles. Traditional military GPS protection products may have been a great solution for these large platforms, but they are no longer viable for the smaller, unmanned ones. GPSdome is a perfect fit for that ever-growing void. infiniDome provides proportional protection for these unmanned platforms. GPSdome and infiniDome’s future products enable BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) and autonomous operations for vehicles in the air, ground, or sea.
Getting Advanced and Better with Hi-Tech Disruption
Omer states that the UAS world relies on GNSS for positioning and mission completion but requires robust connectivity and monitoring to be enabled safely, especially when looking forward to an autonomous future. 5G-connected drones, IoT-based applications, and Cloud Computing are enabling this industry to expand and materialize as well, said Omer.
Bestowing a Robust Navigation System
Omer mentions that Honeywell and infiniDome have jointly developed a “Robust Navigation System”, which provides a holistic, multilayer resilient solution that includes infiniDome’s anti-jamming technology, Honeywell’s UAS-tailored Inertial Navigation System (HCINS), and Radar-Based velocity system (HRVS). The solution enables drones to complete full BVLOS and autonomous missions under GPS challenged and even fully denied conditions.
Optimistically Fighting the Challenges
Omer believes that as a startup that develops and manufactures its own HW and dares to sell solutions into the defense space, infiniDome has ruffled up a lot of feathers in the traditional military-only resilient nav space.
Facing recent component shortages and supply chain disruption has created a strain on operations, which resulted in very creative ways of bridging these gaps.
He adds that in the development phase, designing, implementing, and manufacturing the chip (RFIC) which is at the heart of the company’s patented architecture was an incredible challenge infiniDome was able to meet.
Finally, as a startup company, facing huge defense conglomerates like Elbit and IAI, the burden of proof is always on the company, and battling politics and immense lobbying power was and is a great challenge the company has to overcome.
Astonishing Achievements and Accelerations
Omer reveals that infiniDome has been chosen for several acceleration programs from the iHLS accelerator in 2018 to the FastLane flagship program of the Drive TLV accelerator. infiniDome has sold protection solutions to over 80 customers worldwide and is protecting, to date, over 1,000 vehicles in critical missions.
The Future Endeavors
Today, infiniDome is disrupting the defense and HLS space, enabling critical missions in GPS-challenged and even fully denied environments, claims Omer. He adds that over the next couple of years, infiniDome intends to do the same for the drone delivery ecosystem which will meet the same challenges the defense sector has met with one extra problem – insurance liability. If in the defense space a drone falls in enemy territory, that could create a problem as classified HW might be compromised. In the commercial space if a drone falls on a pedestrian’s head, that creates a huge insurance liability calling for regulating mandatory protection.