What is NAVISAS?

Navigation of Airborne Vehicle with Integrated Space and Atomic Signals

Airspace is a precious resource subject to mounting demand by all types of users (airliners, small aircraft, helicopters, balloons and drones). To cope with demand there’s been increasing dependence on satellites (such as GPS) to help air navigation. The problem is if those satellites fail, the current navigation systems will not be able to cope with the amount of users or deliver the expected performance. Moreover, small aircraft and drones generally do not have access to existing navigation systems equipment.

The NAVISAS project aimed to develop a concept for small aircraft to obtain alternative positioning, navigation and timing (APNT) information when satellite navigation fails while keeping performance and efficiency consistent with the airspace requirements. The project analyzed several paths for technology mergers between satellite positioning systems (e.g. GPS and GALILEO), miniature clock (MAC), miniature atomic gyroscope (MAG) and vision for applications in small aircraft navigation, in particular: standalone high grade inertial navigation system (INS) based on atomic gyros, hybridized multi-constellation multi-frequency system coupled with high grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) based on atomic gyros and vision-based navigation.

NAVISAS will pave the way for a new cost effective instrument that can be used by small aircraft to ensure navigation performance levels consistent with evolving airspace and air traffic.

NAVISAS is a project from the first call for research projects in SESAR 2020 Exploratory Research funded under the SESAR JU.


NAVISAS targets small aircraft such as General Aviation (GA), Very Light Aircraft (VLA), Ultra Light (UL) Aircraft and Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) called also drones.

NAVISAS evaluates a technology concept for APNT using vision and multiple-constellation GNSS combined with atomic gyroscopes and atomic clock technologies.

The added-value presented by a navigation solution like NAVISAS will be particularly important for GA in Instrumental Flight Rules (IFR) in several scenarios such as GPS/GNSS loss, Automatic Take-Off and Landing (ATOL) and en-route. NAVISAS will bring significant improvements on accuracy and robustness of the positioning system when compared with a GPS-only solution, as well as GPS back-up system. It is expected to be an affordable solution being used without the need for major reengineering of GA avionic systems. It is expected also to reduce the volume of the entire equipment, which is especially important when considering small aircraft, and in particular drones.


Project reference: 699387

Project name: Navigation of Airborne Vehicle with Integrated Space and Atomic Signals (NAVISAS)

Project start date: 01 / 03 / 2016

Project duration: 24 months

Call for proposal: H2020-SESAR-2015-1

Topic: Sesar-08-2015 Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS)

Funding scheme: Research and Innovation Action

Total cost: 890,910.00 €

EU contribution: 584,978.75 €

This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 699387.