Skip to main content

UK Is 'Dangerously Dependent' On GPS Report Claims

A report released by the Royal Academy of Engineering has warned about Britain's over-reliance on satellite-based navigation systems.

Britons have become 'dangerously dependent' on GPS systems, which are not only used for navigation but for synchronising computer networks and freight movement, meaning a glitch in a GPS system could result in not only a loss of service but even loss of life.

The RAE warned that most devices that use a GPS signal have little or no backup in case the system goes down due to an intentional or unintentional error.

Dr Martyn Thomas of the RAE, who led the team that prepared the report, said in a statement to BBC News, “What we're saying is that there is a growing interdependence between systems that people think are backing each other up. And it might well be that if a number these systems fail simultaneously, it will cause commercial damage or just conceivably loss of life. This is wholly avoidable.”

The report recommended 10 steps that could avoid a potential crisis if the UK's GPS system breaks down. The points outlined relate to people finding their own sources for backup, while they also suggest that the government should team up with the private sector to improve the hardware that is used for harnessing GPS signals.