NASA to Utilize Commercially Available TerraPoiNT Network in SF Bay Area to Further Urban Air Mobility Development

NextNav, a leader in next generation GPS, announced that it has been selected by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley to deliver PNT services for its urban drone program. Utilizing NextNav’s commercially deployed TerraPoiNT network in the San Francisco Bay area, NASA Ames will capture in-flight horizontal and vertical location data to validate drone flight safety at its Mountain View, California, facility.

The agreement builds on an existing collaboration between NextNav and NASA, in which NASA leverages the TerraPoiNT network to support its CERTAIN facilities at its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. NextNav’s commercial grade TerraPoiNT network in the San Francisco Bay Area will be leveraged by NASA Ames to conduct tests on drone flights within their Urban Air Mobility program.

Specifically, NASA will utilize TerraPoiNT beacons to capture in-flight data on drone navigation, detection, and collision avoidance, and support a stronger understanding of positioning, navigation, and timing in GPS-denied environments. Initial tests in the Bay Area will leverage TerraPoiNT’s existing network in the region, which will allow for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) testing for drones operating outside the visible range of a pilot.

“We are excited to see NASA expand its footprint from the initial use of our TerraPoiNT network in Virginia to its Ames facility in Mountain View, California, leveraging our Bay Area deployment. This further validates the applicability of our TerraPoiNT system for urban drone markets, particularly in GPS-denied environments,” said Ganesh Pattabiraman, CEO of NextNav.

NextNav’s TerraPoiNT delivers precise geolocation services where satellite-based GPS signals may not be available. Through a network of terrestrial beacons, the system is able to deliver signals 100,000 times stronger than satellite-based GPS, providing robust resilience and security from disruptions. In an evaluation conducted by the Department of Transportation, NextNav TerraPoiNT was found to be a top performing alternative PNT solution in delivering PNT performance across all applicable use case scenarios.