Risk Management

Study: GPS Fail Would Cost Economy $1B A Day

GPS car dashboard

In a study of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, researchers found that loss of the service would have an impact of $1 billion per day per an approximate estimate. The National Institutes of Standards and Technology sponsored the study, which was performed by RTI International of North Carolina, Ars Technica reported.

The study examined multiple variables to understand the effect that an outage would bring. One of the effects was “precision timing,” which enables different wireless services such as billing management and the handoff between base stations. At the same time, the report noted that higher precision timing levels enable access to more devices and allow for higher bandwidth.

The study notes, “GPS came along at a time of significant evolution in the telecom sector and played a critical role in the digitization of telecom infrastructure and the advent of wireless technology.” It continued, “Wireless technology continues to evolve in ways that increase its reliance on highly precise timing, which in turn increases reliance on GPS.”

There would reportedly be smaller impacts during the first two days of an outage. However, the wireless network would see more significant effects after that time. Following about 30 days of an outage, the study posits that functionality would fall into a range of 0 percent to 60 percent of operating levels that are normal. However, the report noted that “landline phones would be largely unaffected.”

In other recent GPS news, Google-owned app Waze just got an upgrade by being integrated into Google Assistant. With the enhancement, customers will be able to use the smart voice companion within the app for Waze per a report earlier this month citing Google.

Users were to have access to the usual Google Assistant features such as the playback of podcasts and music in addition to capabilities specific to Waze like asking for a report on traffic conditions or making specific routing requests. The enhancements were reportedly available beginning Monday (June 10) in the U.S. in English on Android devices, with availability expected to expand with time.


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