The four inventors responsible for creating the first truly global positioning system (GPS), have been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, viewed as the world’s most prestigious prize for engineering excellence.
Previous winners have included Robert Kahn, Vint Cerf, Louis Pouzin, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreessen, who revolutionised the way we communicate.
This year’s winners — Dr Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Jr, Hugo Fruehauf, and Richard Schwartz — were announced at a ceremony in London.
In awarding the prize, the judges pointed to the way that the GPS system has revolutionised international communications and, for the first time, enabled free, immediate access to accurate position and timing information around the world.
Today, an estimated four billion people around the world use GPS, and its applications range from navigation and disaster relief through to climate-monitoring systems, banking systems, and the foundation of tomorrow’s transport, agriculture, and industry.
SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)
GPS uses at least 24 orbiting satellites, ground stations, and receiving devices, with each satellite broadcasting a radio signal containing its location and the time from an extremely accurate onboard atomic clock. GPS receivers need signals from at least four satellites to determine their position; they measure the time delay in each signal to calculate the distance to each satellite, then use that information to pinpoint the receiver’s location on earth.
The uses of GPS now go far beyond just navigation; at just $2 per receiver, it can be integrated with applications from tracking disease outbreaks to self-driving tractors, and the economic value has been estimated to be $80 billion a year for the US alone.
Parkinson is often called the ‘father of GPS’ after building upon several separate systems to create the GPS design. Parkinson recruited Spilker to design the signal that the satellites broadcast, critical for success of GPS for civilian use with a signal resistant to jamming, precise, and which allows multiple satellites to broadcast on the same frequency without interfering with each other. Spilker’s team also developed and built the first receiver to process the GPS satellite signals.
Freuhauf, then chief engineer at Rockwell Industries, led the development of a miniaturised, radiation-hardened atomic clock needed to create accurate timing information to be broadcast from the satellites, while Schwartz, the program manager at Rockwell, was tasked with ensuring the satellites had a three-year life span.
When asked what receiving the award had meant for him, Spilker told ZDNet, “I am truly humbled and honoured to receive it.
“Our planet is facing a multitude of complex problems — from climate change to the dawn of autonomous cars — and finding and celebrating technology that can truly benefit humanity in addressing global concerns is amazing.”
He added: “We are all very closely-knit and it was truly a team effort creating GPS, which wouldn’t have been achieved alone. I was working on the technical families of signals to the satellites and even though we all had our separate roles, we all came together and decided unanimously that the civil applications and benefits of GPS, not just military ones, were world-changing and should be explored.”
Asked what he would do with the proceeds he said, “I was legally blind as a child. My mom had limited financial means. I was gifted to receive scholarships and fellowship to complete my Bachelor, Master’s and PhD in engineering in five years of education at Stanford University. Without that, I never would have been in this position of success. With that in mind, I plan on donating my winnings to Stanford University, to further the education of future generations.”
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How To Earn Microsoft Reward Points While Playing Your Xbox Series X|S
If you have an Xbox Series X or S, that means you already have a Microsoft account, and, presumably, you’ve linked the account to your console. If you haven’t, you’ll need to sign into the Microsoft account you want to use for earning rewards, so that when you play games and make purchases, the points go toward that particular email address. You can check out the points you’ve already earned, as well as various ways to earn more points, by heading over to the Microsoft Rewards user portal on the Bing website. You can also use the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox.
If you want to grow your points by playing Xbox games, you’ll need to sign up for the Xbox Game Pass subscription, which provides customers with a large library of games they can play, as well as some other perks. Points are earned by completing quests in games that are available in the Game Pass library. Microsoft says you can view these quests in the Rewards app under the Xbox Games Pass section. If you haven’t yet downloaded the app, you can get a snapshot look at how the rewards process works on the Xbox Games Pass Quests web page.
According to Microsoft, it adds new quests to this section of the Rewards app on a daily basis. Keep in mind that you’ll need to manually head over to that part of the app when you finish a quest in order to redeem the points. Once those points have been applied to your account, however, you’ll be able to redeem them for rewards within the same app.
The 1993 Aston Martin Concept Car Perfect For Any James Bond Villain
Cream leather, chrome, white dials, and a thin-rimmed steering wheel tell the story of an Art Deco cabin modernized for the mid-1990s. The dashboard, pedals, and wheel featured extensive nickel plating, says David Dowsey, while the dashboard was made from a single piece of laminated beech wood.
According to a Discovery documentary about Lagonda — and in what must have felt thoroughly futuristic at the time — the concept featured an integrated satellite navigation system and built-in laptop computers for rear passengers (or Bond villains) to work on. A final flourish saw the car’s steering wheel move out of the way when the driver’s door was opened.
Although it would surely have been toned down for a production version, the concept’s retro interior details are reminiscent of the Jaguar S-Type that arrived in 1999. At the time, both Jaguar and Aston Martin (as well as Land Rover, Lincoln, and Volvo) were part of the Ford-owned Premier Automotive Group.
Netflix And GM Have Teamed-Up For A New Super Bowl 2023 Ad Featuring Will Ferrell
According to a press release from General Motors, the auto giant teamed up with Netflix during past championship games to show off its then-brand-new Ultium EV platform. This year, the ads feature former “Saturday Night Live” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” star Will Ferrell driving around a new GMC Sierra EV in the Netflix original “Army of the Dead.” An ad also features Will Ferrell in the back of a Chevy Blazer EV in the “Squid Game” universe.
Netflix says that it’s already committed to putting as many EVs in its original programming as it can. As such, a Chevy Bolt will be present in an upcoming season of “Love is Blind,” a Bolt EUV will appear in “The Brothers Sun,” a GMC Hummer will star in “Queer Eye,” and Rob Lowe will drive around a Cadillac Lyriq in “Unstable.”
Blatant product placement can be hit or miss, especially when it comes to a huge financial decision like a car. However, stuffing shows full of EVs with the help of GM is certainly one way to get people talking about electric cars.
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