Galileo

Galileo

Mon, 07/18/2016
Momentum is now building for autonomous vehicles, with GNSS as a key component.

At the joint ‘Insurance Telematics’ and ‘Connected Cars’ conference in London, vehicle manufacturers, software engineers, public authorities and many more heard how GNSS- and internet-enabled vehicles are changing the road transport landscape.

Major vehicle manufacturers are now delivering motor vehicles with connected services for drivers, including real-time traffic and weather reports and accident or road works warnings. More applications are on the way, and the technology systems that support them will enable the increasing number of autonomous vehicles that will soon be cruising down our roads and highways.

A key message from the conference was to see integrated GNSS systems as providing more than just positioning and navigation. For example, with GNSS a wide range of other key services are made possible, including:

  • Precise navigation systems
  • Autonomous vehicles and assisted driving
  • Cooperative ITS
  • Usage-based insurance schemes
  • Road pricing and congestion charging
  • Automated eCall distress signals
  • Intelligent speed adaptation

As to the use of GNSS within the connected car, the trend is for carmakers to take a more important role within GNSS-related services. In fact, by 2020 more and more vehicles with built-in GNSS and fewer ‘nomadic devices’ like portable GNSS receivers will be coming onto the market. This trend is already being seen in prototype autonomous driving cars, where GNSS is viewed as a fundamental enabling technology.

Another advantage that GNSS has within the connected car is that it is complementary to and interoperable with other automotive technologies. Although today we talk about sensor-based versus connection-based solutions for a variety of vehicle services, a ‘converged solution’ seems to be the best alternative, combining the best of both approaches. By integrating sensor data and connectivity-based information operators can reduce the need for the most expensive sensors and, at the same time, save money on infrastructure. Accurate and secure GNSS will help drastically reduce costs, with a single, integrated ‘GNSS engine’ embedded within the vehicle that will provide positioning, navigation and timing for all needs – including many different applications and car functions.

Protecting your car from cyber attacks

With the advent and rapid spread of connectivity in cars, cyber security has suddenly become a major concern within the automotive industry. At a special session on cyber security, Anna Stylianou from SBD explained how new connected technologies, including those specifically aimed at increasing safety, have actually increased the attack surface available to hackers. “As vehicles become completely autonomous, they become more reliant on connected services and GNSS, and even ‘driver fall-back’ in case of error will no longer be an option,” she said. “As a result, the risks associated with hacking or GNSS jamming and spoofing will be even greater.”

Luckily, Galileo, which is set to launch initial services later this year, will play a key role in combating these security threats. “There is an increasing need to deliver a robust GNSS module that can provide an efficient, resilient and low-cost defence against jamming or spoofing attacks,” said GSA Deputy Head of Market Development Fiametta Diani. “Galileo will be a dual frequency service, so it will be resistant to atmospheric interference, and it will have greater resistance to multipath interference, or interference due to signal reflections off buildings and other objects, such as in urban canyons.”

Galileo will also have an authentication signal to detect intentional interference, such as spoofing attacks. “This authentication feature is essentially a digital signature that will be available on the E1 Open Service frequency, but also on the Commercial Service E6 frequency, which will certainly be interesting for autonomous driving,” said Diani.

In a key announcement, Diani cited a new independent study by Broadcom, a major international wireless and broadband company, which confirms Galileo mitigation of multipath effects. “Recent tests by Broadcom show that Galileo E1 is a better solution against multipath than GPS L1,” she said. “The strength of the Galileo signal, together with an advanced code modulation, makes Galileo better at mitigating multipath effects, especially in E5, but also in E1.”

Receivers that support Galileo show better performance in a multipath environment. This is because by supporting more constellations, one increases the chances of being able to select only direct line-of-sight signals. Not only that, but E1 measurements from Galileo satellites are more accurate in multipath environments than L1 measurements from GPS satellites – meaning the effect of multipath is two times smaller with Galileo E1 compared to GPS L1.

The authentication feature will be operational in the Open Service from 2018, at which time Galileo will be the sole and unique GNSS constellation offering such a security feature.

Europe in push for autonomous vehicles

Momentum is now building for autonomous vehicles, with GNSS as a key component, and here the European Union is delivering the policy support to back up this movement. Last April, for example, the transport ministers of all 28 EU Member States signed the ‘Amsterdam Declaration’ during an informal meeting of the Transport Council. The document lays out the specific steps necessary for the development of self-driving technologies in the EU. With this new Declaration, the European Commission and its Member States, along with the transport industry, have pledged to develop rules and regulations for autonomous vehicles – meaning Europe has a shared strategy on connected and autonomous driving.

This clear commitment on the part of the EU means the GSA can move forward with confidence in its support for research in this exciting new area. In fact, several ongoing research projects are already being funded by the GSA under the EU’s research framework budget, including Horizon 2020 projects , ‘Indrive’ and ‘Inlane’; many of which involve such European big-name players as TomTom, Fiat or Renault.

In November, a new call for proposals under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme will be launched. The call will have a total budget of €33 million and is specifically targeting research in support of GNSS, including autonomous vehicle technologies.

Stay tuned to the GSA website for more information.

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Mon, 07/04/2016
CNES president Jean-Yves Le Gall was elected as the new chair of the GSA Administrative Board.

The European GNSS Agency elected CNES President and France’s inter-ministerial coordinator for European satellite navigation programmes Jean-Yves Le Gall as the new chair of its Administrative Board.

During the 45th meeting of the European GNSS Agency’s (GSA) Administrative Board, CNES (the French Space Agency) president and France’s inter-ministerial coordinator for European satellite navigation programmes Jean-Yves Le Gall was elected as its new chair. The Board also elected Mark Bacon, representing the United Kingdom, as its new deputy chair.

“I am honoured to have been elected chair of the GSA Administrative Board, with Galileo now poised to enter its operational phase,” says Le Gall. “This election confirms the desire of Member States to join forces on the cusp of a prolific period for European space as we move Galileo towards full operational capability.”

Le Gall thanked outgoing chair Sabine Dannelke of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure for her leadership over the last few years and went on to say, “I look forward to working hand-in-hand with Executive Director Carlo des Dorides and everyone at the GSA, whom I already know well from my role at CNES.”

“With Galileo Initial Services set to launch later this year and the subsequent transfer of responsibility for Galileo operations to the GSA, this is a critical time for the agency,” says des Dorides. “I am pleased that the Member States continue to support the agency with confidence and I look forward to working closely with both Jean-Yves and Mark as Europe’s space programmes enter this new chapter.”

“I am very pleased to have been elected to work with the Board and I look forward to helping the GSA deliver on the Galileo and EGNOS programmes over the coming years,” adds Bacon.

The GSA Administrative Board is composed of representatives from each EU Member State, the European Commission, and the EU parliament. The Board meets three times per year to take various decisions (budget, work programme, etc.) and ensure that the Agency performs its entrusted tasks according to the regulation.

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Fri, 07/01/2016
From a country that has given us such international icons as wooden shoes, windmills, canals and narrow houses, perhaps nothing symbolises the Netherlands more than the bicycle.

The European Space Expo in The Hague showcased how cycling and motorcycling are benefiting from GNSS positioning information.

From a country that has given us such international icons as wooden shoes, windmills, canals and narrow houses, perhaps nothing symbolises the Netherlands more than the bicycle. So when the European Space Expo landed in The Hague’s Het Plein, it was only natural that it came with a special exhibition on the role space solutions play in cycling and motor biking.

The Space Solutions for Biking event showcased the many innovative biking applications powered by satellite navigation (EGNOS and Galileo) and Earth observation (Copernicus) technology. Exhibiting companies covered an array of applications, including bike sharing, smart bike riding and emergency detection for motorbike riders. 

For example, BikePredict is a mobile application that makes self-service bike riding easy by providing information on the number of available bikes and docks, both in real time and in the near future. “What is unique about our product is that we can predict where the bikes are going to be located,” says Chief Marketing Officer Clement Collignon. “As a user, you can log onto our app and see that there’s a 90 % chance of finding a bike or an open parking spot at a particular bike station in 30 minutes, which lets the user better plan their route.”

The app works similarly for the self-service bike operators, telling them how many bikes are docked where. “Trucks have to move bikes from station to station in order to rebalance the system, and this is a fairly significant cost to the operator,” says Collignon. “With BikePredict’s redistribution function, we estimate that we can help operators reduce costs by up to 25 %.”

Likewise, Bike Citizens used the event to show off how GNSS technology can benefit urban cyclists. The innovative app, which was designed by bike couriers, uses positioning information to guide users towards cycle paths and away from busy streets. There’s even no need to look down at the map, as Bike Citizens provides voice prompts about when and where to turn – meaning you can always keep your eyes on the road.

“Not only does it create the most efficient and bike-friendly route, the app will also provide information on points of interest as you ride,” says company Business Advisor Paul Mayer. “And our pre-packaged, themed routes – designed by local cyclists – are the perfect way to explore a new city.”

The app is available in cities worldwide. Furthermore, the company shares the data it collects via the app with research projects aimed at improving cycling in cities. Together with municipalities and companies, the Bike Citizens team designs, develops and promotes an array of tools to help cities promote urban biking. 

Thwarting thieves

Satsafe Technologies, also exhibiting at the Expo, is on a mission to develop innovative, global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based products and services that provide safety and security benefits to the end-user. One such product is the SatsafeBike. The key innovation to this bike is the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) UK finalist’s winning Geoblock technology. The multi-sensor technology, which was originally developed for use in cars, determines the physical characteristics of a vehicle in real time, including acceleration, braking and cornering. This data is then analysed by a back office system, which applies an algorithm to produce individual driving scores.

“We are applying this same concept to bikes, creating an Internet-of-Things-enabled smart bike that we call the SatsafeBike,” says founder Stuart Millward. “Our aim is to have this technology embedded into bikes at manufacturer.” According to Stuart, the technology has already been deployed on electric bikes for Transport for Greater Manchester and the company is in discussions with a UK electric bike manufacturer about adopting the technology for all of their bikes.

“What’s really attractive about this technology for bike owners is its positioning capability,” explains Millward. “If you’re at work, for example, and your bike begins to move, the device will alert you of its position, enabling you to use the app to track and find your stolen bike.”

Easy riding with GNSS

Turning to motorbikes, REALRIDER was on hand to talk about its motorcycle app that keeps riders safe and connected. The app lets motorcyclists ride with complete peace of mind knowing they are protected by the REALsafe feature – the app’s 999-certified, built-in lifesaving crash detection technology linked to emergency services.

Also an ESNC finalist, Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Richardson describes the product as a social app for motorcyclists with a GNSS-enabled safety feature. “Here you can record routes, add points of interest, and connect and share this information with friends and other riders – it’s all about sharing with a wider community,” he says. “But the apps main feature is really its crash-detection feature.”

According to Richardson, all too often a motorcyclist is riding by him or herself on open, remote roads. If they were to crash, be thrown from the bike and land unconscious, for all practical purposes they would be lost. Looking to the EU’s eCall emergency service for inspiration, the question that Richardson and his team asked was “how do we let emergency medical services know where the rider is and what their condition is before they leave to go on the rescue?”

The app uses a complex process of GNSS positioning and geolocation to determine whether a crash emergency has occurred. “With REALRIDER, your information is stored in the UK emergency service system,” explains Richardson. “If it detects a possible crash the app will send you a call to ask if you are ok. If you don’t respond, then it will automatically send your downstream satellite data, medical and contact information from the app to the nearest ambulance and the ambulance to your location via the BT operated 999 service.”

European space benefiting our everyday lives

The Space Solutions for Biking event and the European Space Expo – The Hague were held in conjunction with the 2016 European Space Solutions Conference, co-hosted by the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA), under the auspices of the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the EU. To date, over 900 000 European citizens from across Europe have visited the European Space Expo, learning how European space policy and space-based technologies benefit our everyday lives, support the European economy and create jobs.

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Wed, 06/29/2016
Over 950 000 European citizens have visited the Expo as it continues its tour of major European cities.

The European Space Expo lands in Paris to highlight the many ways the European Union’s space programmes help EU citizens on a daily basis.

The European Space Expo is in Paris’ Parvis de la gare Montparnasse from 20-29 June to highlight the many ways the European Union’s space programmes help EU citizens on a daily basis. Already over 950 000 European citizens have visited the Expo as it continues its tour of major European cities, and here in Paris the numbers are quickly moving towards the 1 million-milestone.

Speaking at the opening event, GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides highlighted how Europe’s space programmes are first and foremost a service geared towards providing across-the-board benefits to European citizens and end-users. According to des Dorides, for each euro invested, Europe’s space programmes generate between EUR 4 and EUR 10 in profit. For example, by 2027 Galileo will have saved 17 500 tons of CO2, saved over 4 500 lives and prevented the diversion of 120 000 flights in Europe.

“We are on the verge of a technological revolution with the growth of the Internet of Things. By 2020 150 billion objects will be interconnected, presenting a huge potential for geolocation,” he says. “To meet this increasing demand for precise geolocation positioning, no one system will be enough, meaning that the addition of Galileo to the system of systems will be fundamental – giving Europe a seat at the global GNSS table.”

There are over  1 000 satellites in space today, and by 2022 this number is expected to double. Of these, 14 are part of the Galileo programme, with more to be added in the coming months as the programme moves towards the launch of initial services later this year.

“Together, these satellites carry out such essential scientific tasks as monitoring the emission of greenhouse gases and their impact on climate change,” says the head of the European Commission Representation in France, Isabelle Jegouzo. “According to some accounts, up to 6 % of the European economy directly depends on these satellites, and the European Space Strategy that is currently being developed will leverage this power to enable Europe to have a true industrial policy.”

“Spatial data and spatial tools are essential to ensure a better command of our daily needs, as well as to find innovative solutions to tomorrow’s global challenges for humankind,” adds former astronaut and current adviser to the ESA Director General, Claudie Haigneré. “In addition, Europe’s space programmes put Europe, its scientists and its engineers at the forefront of research, knowledge and expertise in the 21st century.”

“Another reason for Europe’s space programmes is to defend the future of Europe and ensure it is alive for our children and grand-children,” concluded P. Goujon, Mayor Paris XV and Deputy.

About the European Space Expo

The European Space Expo, organised by the European Commission and the GSA in collaboration with the European Space Agency provides information in several languages, with a focus on EU flagship programmes Galileo, European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and Copernicus. Through these programmes, European citizens benefit from numerous services and applications, not only enhancing daily life, but also creating opportunities on world markets, and contributing to job creation and economic growth.

The event is free and open to the public. Learn more here

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Mon, 06/27/2016

The European GNSS Agency is working together with rail and space industry stakeholders to enable the use of satellite-based positioning for railway signalling, in order to achieve cost and efficiency benefits, such as the reduction of infrastructure elements needed for train control systems.

At the heart of this multi-stakeholder initiative lies the European Train Control System (ETCS), which is now being adopted both in Europe and beyond, as one of the components of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). At present, in ETCS the positioning of the train is based on “balise”, a physical element mounted at specific intervals along the railway track. The goal is to ensure that wherever possible, the physical balises can be replaced by virtual ones, based on precise, GNSS-based positioning without any operational or safety implications on the ETCS. The roadmap below summarises the main projects currently running and planned, as well as the involvement of the various stakeholders interested to achieve the objective of E-GNSS enabled ETCS together with the GSA.

E-GNSS in Rail - Roadmap (Click to enlarge)

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Thu, 06/23/2016

With the launch of Galileo Initial Services later this year, the Galileo Search and Rescue service for locating distress beacons will help operators respond to distress signals faster and more effectively.

The launch of Galileo Initial Services later this year will go together with the launch of the Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR) service. Galileo SAR – which will offer global coverage at sea, in the mountains, across the desert and in urban areas – will help SAR operators respond to a distress signal faster and more efficiently. At a recent SAR workshop held during the European Space Solutions conference, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) joined beacon manufacturers to provide an update.

The Galileo SAR service is Europe’s contribution to the upgrade of the international satellite-based COSPAS-SARSAT system. The Galileo system will be comprised of two components:

  • an automatic forward link distress alert;
  • a unique return link alert service that informs the sender that their message has been received.

Currently, the ground segments are in place, covering Europe from Spitsbergen to the Canary Islands and Cyprus. Furthermore, five reference beacons to monitor system performance have been established. The SAR repeaters that are onboard all Galileo satellites are being commissioned according to the standards - published by Cospas-Sarsat. As stated by the GSA, initial testing on the localisation of distress beacons using a limited Galileo constellation has shown very encouraging results, with more substantial testing anticipated for Q4 2016 through Q1 2017. The forward link service is expected to be available by December 2016, and the return link service to follow sometime in late 2017/early 2018. The Galileo SAR service should be fully operational by 2020.

An enthusiastic market

According to a recent GSA survey of beacon manufacturers, most beacons currently on the market already include a location protocol, and many manufacturers noted that they are preparing for multi-constellation global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). In fact, 70% of respondents specifically stated their intent to use Galileo in general, and 71% said they are thinking of using its return link service– meaning beacon manufacturers are clearly aware of Galileo and its SAR contributions. 

Also read: GSA and EUROCAE working together to build a win-win strategy for Europe

“The return link service is a key factor for us, as having this possibility available is absolutely fundamental, particularly in areas that lack mobile phone coverage,” said Cyril Boissy of Syrlinks, who participated in a roundtable discussion of beacon manufacturers.

“Having the ability for this return link service to be transmitted to all GNSS receivers, not just beacons, will really open up new market possibilities and provide an opportunity for additional, even crowd-sourced, assistance for those in trouble,” added Daniel Katz of Israel-based MoBit Telecom Ltd.

Funding opportunities available

To support further uptake of Galileo by beacon manufactures, the GSA is offering funding opportunities under its Fundamental Elements programme for receiver chipsets, along with the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. Although SAR is not a specific topic, it is very much a part of the four calls topics of transport applications, mass-market applications, professional applications, and awareness and capacity building. Furthermore, the GSA will announce a specific call for MEOSAR beacon prototypes in October 2016.

An end-to-end response

Several research projects supported by the GSA under Horizon 2020 are already well on their way to creating end-to-end solutions based on the Galileo SAR. For example, the SAT406M project aims to improve the mobility and safety of citizens through the design and development of a wrist-worn beacon. The wearable device will include sensors to monitor the user’s physiological characteristics, with this information being available to emergency responders via an innovative signal modulation technique.

Likewise, the HELIOS project is developing beacons for end-to-end emergency readiness and response on land, at sea and in the air. A range of products resulting from the project, which are expected to be available mid-2019, will utilise the new COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system. The system includes around 72 medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites and will provide near-instantaneous alert detection with global coverage, enhanced location accuracy and a robust signal.

The GRICAS project is looking to develop and demonstrate an innovative global solution for abnormal operations – essentially an autonomous distress tracking (ADT) system for aircraft. Like HELIOS, the project is also making use of the new COSPAS-SARSAT MEO-satellites, along with beacons onboard the aircraft.

Last but not least, the Horizon 2020 MAGNIFIC project is promoting both European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and Galileo across a wide range of businesses in Africa via six field trials. Two of these trials include SAR scenarios, one involving a multi-modal Galileo SAR in Cameroon applied to the security of personnel, goods and assets, and the other assessing the potential for a maritime Galileo SAR in Gabon.

Presentations of the workshop are available here.

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Wed, 06/22/2016

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) announces that Qualcomm Technologies, a US-based leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies, is adding support for Galileo across its product portfolio.

In a major boost for Galileo uptake in the location based services (LBS) market segment, today the GSA announces that US-based Qalcomm Technologies, a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies, is adding support for Galileo across its Snapdragon processor and modern portfolios for smartphone, computing and automotive applications. The addition of Galileo to the company’s growing number of location-based applications and services will reduce time-to-first-fix, improve robustness and increase accuracy – particularly in challenging urban environments – ultimately providing the end user with an improved location performance.

“Accurate, reliable, and rapid position location is an important part of the mobile experience,” says Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Senior Vice President Product Management Alex Katouzian. “Qualcomm Technologies is helping to improve consumers’ experiences with location-based services by adding Galileo support to our IZat location platform and deploying it broadly across our modem and application processor portfolios.”
The Galileo-enhanced Qualcomm IZat Location Platform will enable automotive and telematics solution providers to satisfy an important component of the European eCall mandate ahead of the March 2018 deadline. 

“We are happy to announce support for the European Galileo satellite navigation system and to see that longstanding efforts and cooperation between the GSA, the European Commission, Qualcomm Technologies and the mobile ecosystem are delivering a key component of the European Digital Single Market,” says Qualcomm Europe President Enrico Salvatori. “eCall and Galileo, together with upcoming advances in automotive connectivity, pave the way to enhancing road safety and delivering new services to consumers.”

“The Galileo constellation relies on 14 satellites that are in orbit today, and following our cooperation on Galileo integration, we welcome the announcement that Qualcomm Technologies is contributing to the rapid adoption of Galileo, in view of the launch of Initial Services by the end of 2016,” says GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “The Galileo signal has demonstrated high performance and we believe it will enhance the user experience by providing more accurate and robust positioning”.

 

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Mon, 06/20/2016

For the second time, the European GNSS Agency is sponsoring a special prize dedicated to Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus as part of the annual Council of Geodetic Surveyors’ Young Surveyors prize.

With a cash prize of EUR 1 000, the 2016 edition of the Council of Geodetic Surveyors’ (CLGE) Young Surveyors prize is now open for submissions. Once again, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is sponsoring a special prize for entries that show a dedicated use of Galileo, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) or Copernicus. The contest is open to all bachelor and masters students in the surveying sector or a related field.

Submissions must be received no later than 8 August 2016.

Last year’s winning entry came from Laura Van de Vyvere from Liège University and M3 Systems, Belgium, for her project “Cycle Slips Detection in Quad-Frequency Mode: Galileo’s Contribution to an Efficient Approach under High Ionospheric Activity”. Through an innovative technique developed by Van de Vyvere, the project uses Galileo’s high number of carrier frequencies to improve positioning compared to other GNSS programmes.

The GSA and the CLGE have been working together for several years, a cooperation that is likely to grow as the Galileo constellation moves towards initial services later this year. In 2015, in support of this cooperation, the two organisations launched this special prize as part of the CLGE’s annual Young Surveyors prize.

The Details

To participate, proposals should include an academic paper describing the project and how it benefits from Galileo, EGNOS or Copernicus (or in combination). Although papers may be an abridged version of a more complete thesis, the paper should describe the project in full, including financial and logistical aspects. Papers should not exceed 4 000 words, including an abstract of 300 words, and must be written in English.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of CLGE delegates representing professional, academic and associated sectors. The winning entry will receive an award worth EUR 1 000 as well as a CLGE certificate during a special ceremony to be held on 11 October 2016 during the INTERGEO event in Hamburg, Germany.

More information can be found here.

Sign up to GSA Today to receive updates on the next contest.

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The European GNSS Agency (GSA) recently took the EASTLOG stage to discuss the important role that EGNOS and Galileo play within the logistics sector.

Speaking at EASTLOG, Central and Eastern Europe’s largest supply chain and logistics tradeshow, the GSA highlighted the important role that EGNOS and Galileo play within the logistics sector.

According to the GSA, in a market that is as demanding and competitive as that of global logistics, space can provide cost-efficient solutions. “Global navigation satellite systems, or GNSS, are becoming increasingly relied upon by many different logistic-orientated applications, including the very popular track and trace applications and such sophisticated services as proof of delivery, geofencing and monitoring the transport of dangerous goods,” says one GSA representative. “Many of these applications and services demand a high level of accuracy and integrity, and in Europe this is provided by EGNOS and Galileo.”

Based on conversations with various logistic stakeholders during the event, it is clear that service providers in this sector are most interested in solutions that offer additional cost savings. Here the GSA highlighted various GNSS-enabled solutions already on the market, including driver advisory systems that provide additional fuel savings and, in the near future, the autonomous vehicle. Of particular interest is the so-called ‘supply chain visibility’ concept, where GNSS, combined with telecommunication technology, is capable of providing an increased level of clarity to the chain of custody and the possibility to geofence transport corridors.

“The possibility of having such authenticated positioning information is very important to the logistics sector, thus the interest in the potential of Galileo to offer even more cost-efficient and reliable positioning continues to grow,” noted one attendee.

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Thu, 06/16/2016

One major takeaway from last week’s European Space Solutions conference in The Hague is that satellite navigation and Earth observation data are creating big opportunities for game-changing growth in Europe and beyond.

Opening a dedicated session on the topic of space solutions for business, European GNSS Agency (GSA) Executive Director Carlo des Dorides described how space is bringing effective tools to face the many challenges that business and society are confronting. Under the equation ‘(Space + Innovation) x Entrepreneurship = Growth!’ he noted that “entrepreneurs must not only have a vision, but the capacity to realise their vision, and be keen to take on risks and able to learn from ‘unsuccess’”.

As a case in point on how European space solutions can benefit businesses, he highlighted the role of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) in opening up business opportunities in the aviation sector and beyond. From six airports with operational EGNOS approaches in 2011, there are now over 350 operational EGNOS based procedures in Europe – a number set to double by 2018.

“This innovation ensures that smaller regional airports remain accessible in all weather conditions, increases operational efficiency and boosts tourism and trade,” he says. “This is resulting in major benefits for many airport operators and their regional communities.”
According to des Dorides, EGNOS is the perfect showcase of European innovation, saying that “EGNOS-based operations represent the most significant innovation in European air traffic since the invention of radar.”

Already an estimated 6 % of the global gross domestic product (GDP) depends on space technology. “If Europe gets our space strategy right, we will provide the right opportunities for using this space data for jobs and growth well into the future,” adds European Commission Head of Unit for Galileo and EGNOS Applications Philippe Jean. 

Space to Earth

Looking at what businesses want to do with space solutions, perhaps Shell Vice-President of Exploration Technology and Chief Scientist Geophysics Dirk Smit summed it up best by saying: “We want to bring space to Earth.” Elaborating on this statement, he notes that in his sector space is already providing solutions to the global energy challenge, including the use of space-based monitoring techniques for geoscience that are helping Shell “turn data into decisions”.

This is especially true when applied to the Earth’s subsurface, which Smit describes as “the last frontier” for exploration. Routine visualisation of the Earth’s subsurface, including the ocean floor for which Shell is sponsoring an Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, is close and, according to Smit, space-borne technology is critical.

Space-powered businesses

So how are business leaders addressing today’s challenges and preparing for tomorrow’s opportunities with space solutions? According to global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver manufacturer ST Microelectronics Director Carlo Bagnoli, all one has to do is look at the transport sector. “After ST pioneered a volume supply of multi-constellation GNSS standalone receivers in 2011, we are now delivering our Teseo third-generation global GNSS solution supporting all existing signals, including Galileo,” he says. “Furthermore, we are developing precise positioning solutions to support new applications in Highly Automated ADAS [Advanced Driver Assist Systems] that match the performance, reliability and cost targets of these new exciting applications.”

In terms of smart cities and autonomous driving, Bagnoli feels that no single technology will drive this business alone. However, he believes that GNSS must be an important part of the technological mix. “This market will be global, dynamic and highly competitive, but will also rely on regulation and standardisation to ensure growth,” he says.

Adding to this role of GNSS in the transport sector, Xerox Tolling Business Senior Manager Peter Depuydt talked about space-based solutions in applications such as public transport, fleet management and route optimisation. According to him, GNSS-based systems have major applications in border control solutions. He also believes that legislation for data safeguards will become increasingly important. “Vehicle tolling systems will generate a huge amount of data that enables efficient traffic management. However the actual tracking guarantees privacy,” he says.

Business case

Entrepreneur and self-proclaimed space invader Robert Mica discussed the current investment climate, noting that interest in investing in space-based businesses was changing – and fast. “Venture capital invested more in space start-ups last year than in the previous 15 years,” he says. “Clearly, there is a big shift happening.”

That being said, he also advised that, when talking to venture capitalists, it is important to get down to the business case: “They are not interested in space per se. What they really want to know is where the money is,” he says. He also noted a difference between the USA and the EU, saying that in the EU business was more driven by a technology push, while in the USA businesses operated in a more market-push environment.

To put all this into perspective, Planet Labs CEO used his company’s ambitious Earth observation and remote sensing business plans as a case study of space-based success. According to him, a global sensor revolution is currently underway, and the Planet Lab approach is looking to enable monitoring on a daily basis with global coverage and rapid online delivery at lower cost.

To achieve this, a fleet of over 100 small mass-manufactured satellites will be needed – a process that will “institutionalises innovation”. “This constellation will allow monitoring of ‘everywhere, everyday’ at a three-metre pixel resolution,” he says. “This almost real-time information will let us take the pulse of the planet and, when combined with excellent analytics, will help decision-makers and support efforts for global sustainability.”

Stay tuned!

Want to learn more about the many ways Space Solutions can benefit your business? In the coming weeks we will be running focused articles and business profiles on how such sectors as energy, smart mobility, climate change and the environment, agriculture and food, river deltas and health and safety are all making the business case for space.

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