US Air Force to Test SandboxAQ Quantum Navigation on Aircraft

AI and quantum-powered sensor prototype also holds promise for civil aviation
Berenice Baker

May 26, 2023

A wireframe globe in blue on a black background
SandboxAQ's quantum solution aims to provide navigation in GPS-deprived environments. Getty

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has awarded SandboxAQ a direct-to-phase-II small business innovation research (SBIR) contract to research quantum navigation technologies.

SandboxAQ’s AI and quantum (AQ) powered navigation system is intended to complement the global positioning system (GPS) for accurate navigation in environments where GPS is unavailable or has reduced precision.

SandboxAQ intends to further the research and development it started under an

initial SBIR contract

awarded in January. The company said it would work closely with the USAF to optimize the sensor, including carrying out live demonstrations aboard Air Force aircraft. 

“The SandboxAQ team is thrilled to be advancing this cutting-edge navigation research in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force,” said SandboxAQ public sector president Jen Sovada.

“AQ-powered navigation technology has great potential to be part of a comprehensive and resilient assured positioning, navigation and timing solution across all domains and military

service branches as well as for the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA. It also offers tremendous dual-use promise in the commercial sector for areas such as commercial aviation, unmanned vehicles, and logistics. We look forward to sharing the results of this exciting step forward.”  

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