TSPI (Time, Space, Position Information) device is a formal name for a high end GPS tracker. Like a GPS tracker, it produces a detailed track of the host vehicle’s travel. Unlike a GPS puck, it is designed to produce high fidelity track data under adverse conditions, such as being attached to a UAV that is “neutralized”.

More to the point, it is the definitive source of truth upon which all other data depends. It is the ground truth data which all other data is compared to. An accurate and reliable TSPI device is critical for accurate CUAS (and BVLOS, see-and-avoid, etc) data analysis. You must know where the target was in time and space.

To this end, a TSPI device must:

  • Be as fault tolerant as possible. Test data generally cannot be recreated and it is ultimately one of the most valuable products of the exercise
    • Be sufficiently weather and impact resistant to survive normal environmental effects during testing
    • Provide bulletproof on board data collection and storage.
    • Use hardware and software design best practices to handle errors gracefully
  • Be as accurate as possible. The TSPI device’s primary role is to collect and record highly accurate ground truth
    • Provide highly accurate position information in a common format
    • Provide a highly accurate time stamp for each record
  • Be as low SWAP as possible to minimize effects on the target it is attached to
    • P – power – should be independent of the target
  • When possible, provide a down sampled real time data link for situational awareness. This also enables additional features such as Remote ID and other BVLOS test requirements
    • The data link should not interfere with or be affected by the CUAS systems involved in the exercise

Under a Phase II AFWERX SBIR, URSA produced a prototype TSPI device. Based on our recent CUAS test and evaluation exercise we are developing a production version with the following enhancements:


TSPI device – prototype TSPI device – funded
Generic card writer Enhanced filesystem and encryption support
MSP430 microcontroller ARM Cortex-M – faster, crypto support, others
2 layer PCB 6 layer PCB – speed, power and signal integrity
Bypass and decoupling capability Add – EMC and signal integrity, error handling
Prototype firmware, no error handling Production firmware – error handling, audit, etc
No Li-Ion battery monitoring Battery monitoring – controlled shutdown
Standard GPS RTK GPS
No real time data link Cellular data modem
Prototype development approach Best practice layout, coding, power management

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