GPS do kosza? Trwają testy czegoś lepszego

GPS in the trash? Something better is being tested

Tests of the “quantum compass” are underway in London. The tool is intended to help especially with navigation underground and under water. That’s why the team checks it out during a ride on the local subway.

The content of the transported cargo is quite unusual for wagons used on a daily basis as public transport. It is in the middle a stainless steel vacuum chamber, several billion rubidium atoms, and a set of lasers that are used to cool the equipment to a temperature just above absolute zero, reports The Guardian.

This could be a revolution

Why this unusual use of the subway? Researchers have been working on sensors using quantum mechanics, but it turned out that when tested outside the laboratory, they required corrections for accuracy. Ultimately, the solution may also work in cars and airplanes. Until now, this was usually based on satellite navigation systems, which, however, were susceptible to bad weather conditions and jamming. The aim of the Imperial College project is to create a device that will not only be accurate in determining its position, but also will not rely on receiving external signals.

It’s supposed to be possible thanks to a solution already used in phones and smartwatches, i.e. accelerometers that are able to measure how an object’s speed changes over time. However, these solutions are not able to maintain their accuracy for a long time. And this is where he comes into the picture quantum mechanics, which is intended to provide greater precision by measuring the properties of ultracold atoms. At extremely low temperatures, they behave in a “quantum” way, which allows for accurate measurements.

If the solution proves successful, it will certainly also be used in the famous London Underground. Currently, miles of cables are required to track the location of vehicles transporting residents and tourists. The new solution would allow us to get rid of them.

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