How fast can our horses go? Measuring the quality of positioning technologies

Basiri, A. (2021) How fast can our horses go? Measuring the quality of positioning technologies. Journal of Navigation, 74(1), pp. 1-4. (doi: 10.1017/S0373463320000673)

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Whether Henry Ford or someone else gave us this famous quote, ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’, we may agree that it implies there is a limit to what we can expect from the performance of an existing solution. Science and technology always try to push the boundaries and ‘improve’; improving the quality of our lives or improving the quality of technologies. We, as researchers in the area of navigation, are no exception; we want to improve the quality of navigation services. And there are many ways to do so, and challenges and limitations to those attempts. Some researchers look to improve the accuracy, the reliability, the integrity through different approaches. Some try to reduce or model noise, some try to minimise human error, and some use novel techniques and algorithms for better prediction. Of course, when ‘our horses cannot go any faster’ and there is not much space for improvement for a certain technology or service, researchers may come up with a completely new solution, such as an automobile. Almost all new technologies go through the same exploration period; at the beginning, we want to see how and if it works so we try simple tasks, but then we become more ambitious (or greedier!) and so we introduce it to more difficult challenges until it hits the breaking point. At this point, curious researchers and inventors try to push the boundaries and make the technology better, and if improvement is not possible, they build (invent) a new solution. But what is the ‘quality’ that many of us want to improve? How the quality of a technology or service can be measured in the first place?

Item Type:Articles (Editorial)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Basiri, Professor Ana
Authors: Basiri, A.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
V Naval Science > V Naval Science (General)
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Navigation
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-7785
Published Online:15 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Royal Institute of Navigation
First Published:First published in Journal of Navigation 74(1): 1-4
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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