Skyline to Provide USAF GPS-Independent Localization Capability

American soldiers using alternatives to know their position in a GPS-denied environment. Photo: US Army

American technology firm Skyline Nav AI has been awarded a $750,000 contract to provide GPS-independent localization capability to the US Air Force.

To be built on the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) platform, the visual localization tech will enable military units operating in GPS-denied environments to establish their precise location.

It will utilize an application that relies on man-made or natural terrain features such as skylines to identify soldiers’ exact positions.

The company explains that operators upload an image of their surroundings to the Skyline app. The app then compares the photo to a Digital Surface Model of the location.

A location result is then sent to the user when the application detects a match.

“Skyline’s proprietary algorithms are designed to analyze a range of semantic classes, including skylines, buildings, vegetation and roadways,” the company said.

The ATAK Platform

The ATAK platform is a mobile computing solution that offers a map-based common operating picture on a shared network.

Originally developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, it provides enhanced situational awareness for command and control.

Other versions include iTAK for Apple, WinTAK for Windows, and WebTAK for the web.

“Offering a reliable alternative to GPS will be a critical capability in a future combat operation or domestic homeland response mission,” Skyline Nav AI co-founders Rajeev Surati and Kanwar Singh said. “It can lead to the difference between life or death and mission success or failure.”

Another technology firm, Draper, will be responsible for integrating the Skyline application into ATAK’s front-end.

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