February 5, 2020

photo of todd humphreys with ion awardTodd Humphreys, an associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, has been elected a Fellow member of the Institute of Navigation (ION). He was recognized for his important contributions to Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) security and for bringing precise Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning to the mass market, as well as his dedication to education and outreach of GNSS. Humphreys is one of only three ION members elected to the grade of Fellow for 2020.

Humphreys is credited with bringing GNSS security research to a worldwide audience with his pioneering publication, “Assessing the Spoofing Threat.” The paper has over 500 citations (Google Scholar), making it one of the most cited GNSS-related articles ever published. Since this publication, thousands of academic publications on GNSS security have been published, advancing the theory and practice of GNSS authentication over the past ten years. To demonstrate the vulnerability of GNSS security, Humphreys’ group conducted the first successful spoofing of a UAV in 2012. The following year, the research team successfully spoofed an $80 million yacht at sea using the world’s first openly acknowledged GPS spoofing device.

In 2015, Humphreys was the first to demonstrate centimeter-accurate GPS-based positioning through a smartphone antenna. Such precise measurements, not previously thought possible using low-cost antennas, together with new algorithms designed to be robust to multipath and blockage, open up the possibility of making precise positioning available to the mass market. This could allow unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages to a specific spot on a consumer’s back porch, enable all-weather lane-level location of cars, and allow virtual reality (VR) headsets to be used outdoors.

Humphreys has testified before the U.S. Congress, contributed to Government Accountability Office reports and presented to the PNT National Advisory Board. He is a recipient of numerous awards during his career at UT Austin including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2019), the NSF Career Award (2015), the Institute of Navigation Thurlow Award (2015) and the UT Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award (2012).

Humphreys directs the Radionavigation Laboratory at UT Austin and is associate director of UT SAVES (Situation-Aware Vehicular Engineering Systems). He holds the William J. Murray, Jr. Fellowship in Engineering No. 1.