GPS Safety Bubble Technology Essay

GPS Safety Bubble Technology Essay

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Although Global Positioning technology has existed since the mid 1970’s, some of the most significant advancements have taken place within the last five years. In recent months, studies have been conducted by NASA and other institutions concerning the use of advanced GPS technology in both computer controlled flight of commercial aircraft and the establishment of “no-fly safety bubbles” around designated areas and buildings. In essence an aircraft’s computer system would override a manual command and not allow the craft to enter these designated areas. There are many possible benefits of this technology, but with any new advancement also comes ethical questions. While some believe this technology will increase air travel safety, others argue that misuse of this technology could lead to disaster and loss of life.

The use of Global Positioning System navigation technology was established in the early 1970’s, long before the idea of a GPS “safely bubble” existed. Up to this time the required satellite technology to support global positioning systems had not been developed. In 1978 the first GPS satellite was launched (Rand McNally). It took nearly fifteen years to perfect GPS for public use, but since this has happened, land navigation has been revolutionized. GPS was initially developed by the Department of Defense for primarily military uses, but has since been made available to the general public. In 1996 the National Security Council published the following goals for the GPS system:

• To strengthen and maintain national security.

• To encourage acceptance and integration of GPS into peaceful civil, commercial and scientific applications worldwide.

• To encourage private sector investment in and use of U.S. GP...

... middle of paper ...

...tation advances the common good, promotes a safe society for citizens, and helps to ensure the freedom of the American people. We have a duty to use modern technology such as advanced GPS systems to achieve these aforementioned goals. It is clear that despite the risks, this technology is needed and should be developed and installed on all aircraft.


Haskens, Shelly. “Security Now Their Domain” The Huntsville Times. Oct. 21, 2001

Kostiuk, Peter F. “An Integrated Safety Analysis Methodology for Emerging Air Transport Technologies”. NASA. April, 1998.

Parasuraman, Raja, Jacqueline Duley. Et al. “Human Factors in Free Flight: Developing Dynamic Automation Tools to Support Air Traffic Management”. Cognitive Science Lab, Catholic University of America. 1996

Rand McNally & Company.

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