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Proposals open for positioning, navigation and timing innovations

23rd June 2022
Sam Holland

MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), a SEMI Technology Community, has announced a request for proposals (RFP) for funding the development and manufacture of advanced positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) sensor components and systems.

SEMI MSIG will award funding to U.S. teams or organisations with a wide range of research and development capabilities. White paper proposals are due on 15th July, 2022 at 5:00pm PDT. The RFP contains details about the proposal submission process.

Today, when a GPS signal is lost, commercial PNT solutions use inertial measurement units (IMUs) to maintain positioning accuracy. Over time, however, the accuracy becomes less reliable due to accumulated IMU errors. The initiative aims to drive PNT innovations that pinpoint the position of mobile and stationary assets and enable reliable navigation in critical situations.

The RFP marks another partnership between SEMI MSIG and the Army Research Lab (ARL) PNT consortium to address common challenges, innovate, and accelerate business and technical results. ARL has identified the following research and development focus areas under the project:

• Thrust Area 1: Novel Materials, Fabrication, and Packaging Techniques for Low-SWaP (small size, weight and power consumption) Inertial and PNT Sensors
• Thrust Area 2: Advanced Active and Passive Integrated Photonics for Low-SWaP Atomic Clocks, Quantum Systems, and PNT Sensors
• Thrust Area 3: Advancements Towards Low-SWaP, GPS-Free PNT Technologies

The SEMI MSIG Technical Council and ARL subject matter experts will evaluate, prioritise and manage the proposals and their resulting projects. Funding granted by SEMI MSIG for the projects must be matched with cash and in-kind contributions from the grant recipient’s organization to cover total project costs. Organisations awarded funding for SEMI projects in the past have contributed 58% of the funding for the development program, with a minimum contribution of 50%.

The new round of R&D funding builds on the Phase 1 SEMI MSIG PNT program launched in 2020 to identify novel approaches to PNT solutions for GPS-denied environments. Emphasis will be placed on system solutions, including machine learning and sensor fusion software, cost-effective process innovation, advanced packaging solutions, component innovations, and disruptive materials development.

R&D may include software, hardware, and advanced packaging requirements of optical and MEMS-based positioning and timing systems that improve bias stability and reduce sensor noise while advancing system-level performance to further the state of the art.

SEMI MSIG provided details about the RFP in a webinar last month and encourages candidates to review the RFP and watch the webinar before submitting a proposal. The proposal due dates noted in the webinar have been extended, and the correct dates are in the RFP.

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