Deployed Sailors and Marines on board aircraft carriers will be able to use smart phones to navigate, locate and track anyone on the ship in real time, Office of Naval Research (ONR) officials announced Sept. 15.
The ONR-funded Precise At-Sea Ship System for Indoor-Outdoor Navigation (PASSION) system uses wireless technology for internal and external surveillance of ships and aircraft, including tracking people and high-value assets.
PASSION's current version, which includes real-time capability and stand-alone servers, was demonstrated aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) in April. Since then, it has made significant advancementsmost notably, the ability to be loaded onto a smart phone instantly, to see wi-fi signal strength and to send alerts via text or email to personnel in specified areas.
"An aircraft carrier has 5,000 Sailors, more than 2,000 compartments, 75 aircraft and countless high-value assets," said Dr. John Kim, ONR program officer for Navigation and Timekeeping. "To know where they are at all times, especially in emergency situations, is extremely beneficial. It's real-time situational awareness."
PASSION is also a low-cost solution, since it uses commercially available software on the common smart phone. It is all-inclusive, with built-in wi-fi, GPS, camera and any other features the phone may have.
"We can get a map from a ship's logistics office and then build the map on the smart phone on the fly without human interaction," Kim said.
PASSION is initially being tested for Nimitz-class ships to support and improve force protection, maintenance and damage-control response. Eventually the system can be rolled out to other ship classes and aircraft that require the capability to track personnel and property.
Dr. Bereket Tanju, deputy program manager for naval enterprise networks at the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, is co-developing PASSION with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Center and its partners.
The final evaluation, expected to be complete in 2012, will demonstrate the application's capability onboard a moving ship at sea, using advanced, more compact hardware and software.
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