GSA

GSA

Thu, 08/11/2016

From emergency caller localisation to monitoring senior citizens, according to the European GNSS Agency (GSA), space-based technologies are already improving our health and safety and are set to see increasing use in the near future.

Space solutions can play a significant role in addressing a number of key health and safety-related challenges currently facing society. From emergency caller location to the monitoring of elderly patients, Europe’s global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and Earth observation programmes – including Galileo, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and Copernicus – are already having a substantial impact on our health and safety. Furthermore, according to the European GNSS Agency (GSA), their role will only increase in the near future.

For instance, one area where GNSS and medical technology are increasingly working together is in the Internet of Things (IoT) or, in this case, the ‘Internet of Medical Things’. According to semiconductor manufacturer ARM Director of Healthcare and Emerging Technologies Karthik Ranjan, accurate positioning data can enable better management of resources while also reducing costs.

Ranjan predicts that by 2020 we will see a “tsunami of healthcare devices” come to market, with around 1.5 billion personal sensors being used to monitor the continuum of health – including blood, sweat and urine analysis. “The combination of remote sensing and smartphone communication could help change behaviour and enable people to make better lifestyle choices,” he says.

He also predicts that such systems will reduce the need to visit a doctor or hospital for a vast majority of medical cases. “Sharing such health data as your glucose status for a diabetic with your trusted social networks can reduce costs and improve prevention of diabetic episodes,” he adds.

The silver lining

As Europe’s population continues to age, the so-called ‘Silver Economy’ will also be an impetus for the development of GNSS-enhanced medical and healthcare related devices and services. “Although we are living longer than ever before, we haven’t yet taken the necessary steps to ensure that these added years are healthy years,” says STMicroelectronics’ Mustapha Bouraoui. “What we need are solutions that promote autonomy, regular activity and general health for our senior citizens.”

Bouraoui believes that IoT will have a major impact here. For example, his company is currently involved with the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI), an EU initiative aimed at building the European IoT ecosystem and one that the GSA is actively involved with. The AIOTI is already supporting some large-scale demonstrations, including five pilot projects on smart living environments for an ageing population and wearable devices for smart ecosystems.

Tracking for safety

Another area where GNSS can play an important role in the healthcare arena is with applications for tracking vulnerable people – such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. “Within the health and social care sectors, there is a need for the technology to be ‘invisible’, easy to use and cheap in order to enable universal safety and security for citizens,” says Satsafe Limited’s Stuart Millward. “Location-aware, multi-sensing devices could, for example, provide a radically lower cost monitoring solution for senior citizens and other vulnerable groups and has the potential to significantly reduce avoidable hospital admissions.”

An example of what these tracking devices could look like can be seen in what’s happening at Weenect. The company produces small devices that come with a smartphone app that allows for simultaneous tracking of up to four trackers. The service also establishes geo-fencing areas and alerts users if the tracked subject leaves the defined area. Some devices also include an ‘SOS’ button and voice call – a useful addition for senior citizens.

Mitigating natural disasters

In addition to their role in medical care and healthy living, GNSS and Earth observation are also having an impact on emergency response. This is particularly true when it comes to both mitigating against and responding to natural disasters. For example, the FP7 FLOODIS project has developed a cloud and mobile based flood information and management system. The project makes use of both Earth observation and EGNOS to provide an accurate disaster alert and information service, in particular for short-term flood forecasting. With the addition of Galileo in the near future, project coordinators look to add more fully integrated social media information in order to improve the system’s flood prediction models.

The FLOODIS approach is also being extended to other emergency scenarios via the Horizon 2020 I-REACT project.

Another example of the important role that European GNSS plays in emergency response can be found in the aviation sector. Here, EGNOS is helping emergency response helicopters fly into difficult conditions – thus saving more lives. The Pildo Labs’ 5 LIVES project is currently demonstrating Point in Space (PinS) procedures for helicopters using EGNOS’ robust positioning data in order to enable flight in almost all visibility conditions. The project intends to demonstrate the procedures in five specific scenarios: hospital emergency services, landing approaches in challenging (mountainous) environments, firefighting helicopters, maritime search and rescue, and emergency teams monitoring and helicopter EVAC.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s – a UAV

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for telemedicine applications is a rapidly developing field. They can play a crucial role in delivery, monitoring, and search and rescue activities. As UAVs are capable of operating in hazardous environments, they are capable of rapidly responding into areas where human first responders may not be able to venture.
UAVs are also capable of transporting vital equipment to rescue services, as was seen in the 2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) winning entry that uses a drone system to deliver defibrillators.

 

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).

Tue, 08/02/2016

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has formally accepted the new Loyola de Palacio facility, which houses the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC), from the Spanish government – a key milestone towards the declaration of Galileo Initial Services.

Recently, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) formally accepted the new Loyola de Palacio facility, which houses the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC), from the Spanish government. This handover represents a significant milestone in the development of the Galileo programme and its service provisions, which is scheduled to begin later this year with the declaration of Initial Services. 

“The GSC is a key asset for the Galileo programme; it is Galileo's door to the GNSS world,” said GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “Today, the GSA is pleased to accept this excellent facility from Spain. It is a symbol of the upcoming service phase and the single, unique interface for Galileo users.”

“Carlo des Dorides has been on board the Galileo programme from the beginning. He has played a consistent role in taking the programme forward, and his re-election as GSA Executive Director by unanimity was not by chance,” added Spanish Secretary General for Transport, Carmen Librero Pintado. “Rest assured, Spain will always be side-by-side with you.”

 

Ignacio Azqueta Ortiz, Director General of Spain’s National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) said, “With this handover and the milestones to be reached in the near future, we look forward to continuing our tradition of collaboration with the GSA and working together towards the success of the Galileo programme.”

In his concluding remarks, Spanish Secretary of Defence Pedro Arguelles Salaverria underlined, “Now more than ever, Europe must show the world its strengths, and Galileo is one of them. Spain underlines its strong support of Europe and Galileo.”

The essential role of the GSC

By delegation from the European Commission, the GSA is charged with overseeing the operation and service provision for both the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) (since 2015) and Galileo (as of 2017), along with managing the security accreditation and general security provision for both programmes. The GSA has been fully responsible for the GSC since its inception in 2014, a responsibility that includes serving as the GSC design authority, managing the GSC nucleus’ (GSC-n) operations and overseeing preparation contracts on infrastructure, operations and hosting service provision for the fully-fledged GSC (v1).

 

Ignacio Azqueta Ortiz, Director General of INTA, Carmen Librero Pintado, Secretary General for Transport, Pedro Argüelles Salaverría, Secretary of State for Defence, Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director, European GNSS Agency (GSA), Begoña Cristeto, Secretary General of Industry (click to enlarge)

Ignacio Azqueta Ortiz, Director General of INTA, Carmen Librero Pintado, Secretary General for Transport, Pedro Argüelles Salaverría, Secretary of State for Defence, Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director, European GNSS Agency (GSA), Begoña Cristeto, Secretary General of Industry (click to enlarge)

Under the hosting agreement between the European Commission and Spain, INTA served as the hosting entity, with the Spanish government providing the site as an in-kind contribution. The GSC offers over 1,100 square metres of space, is home to some of the programme’s most state-of-the-art technology, and employees over 40 people

Since 2013, the GSC-n has been providing limited services and working as a precursor to GSC v1. Its key work includes supporting the lead up to the Galileo Initial Services provision, along with operating the GSC Helpdesk, disseminating orbital products to the Search and Rescue (SAR) community, supporting GNSS-related R&D and industry and monitoring user satisfaction. Once operational, GSC v1 will be connected to the Galileo core system, thus enabling the Commercial Service. It is expected to enter operations by mid-2017.

A truly European agency

The GSA is unique in that is one of the EU’s only multi-site agencies. With its headquarters in Prague, it also will run operational sites in the Netherlands, France, and the UK. With the handover of the Loyola de Palacio facility, it now adds Spain to this list. Each of the sites has its own specific function and will be staffed by specialists from the GSA and its contractors. Once the Galileo Operations Contract is awarded and Initial Services officially declared, the GSC is expected to see an increase in staff.

The site acceptance meeting was attended by representatives from the Spanish departments of defence, transport and industry, among others. Attendees were also given an overview presentation on the GSC’s role within the Galileo programme, along with a tour of the facilities.

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, 08/01/2016
Presenters emphasised the added value that geolocation and earth observation services offer when they work together

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) highlights how the combination of GNSS and Earth observation services mean increased benefits for geospatial applications.

As part of its recent annual congress, the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) held a special session on Galileo and Copernicus and their role in geospatial land applications. The session, jointly organised by the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the European Environmental Agency (EEA) and the Horizon 2020 funded LARA project, drew over 70 participants.

A common theme of the session was a general need for a stronger connection between GNSS-generated geospatial data and remote sensing applications and services, including its relevant stakeholders. To demonstrate why, presenters emphasised the added value that geolocation and earth observation services offer when they work together.

Also read: Galileo and EGNOS benefiting the Geospatial World

“The successful launch of Sentinel-2, along with Earth observation’s increasing capacity to use Very High Resolution sensors, are providing a boost to the European remote sensing industry,” said EEA Project Manager of Copernicus Land Services Hans Dufourmont. “The combination of precision geolocation services with satellite imagery at sub-metre pixel sizes paves the way for a new range of uses and in domains as diverse as precision farming, ecosystem service monitoring and urban growth monitoring – to name only a few.”

“Galileo’s improved signal robustness and varying levels of authentication, along with the Commercial Service’s high-accuracy receiver error below one decimetre, are all features that will greatly benefit geospatial users,” added GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “With virtually all professional surveying receivers preparing for the declaration of Galileo Initial Services later this year, geospatial users are increasingly able to benefit from European GNSS.”

Multiplying benefits

Galileo, Europe’s own global navigation satellite system, provides a global positioning service under civilian control. Offering dual frequencies as its standard, Galileo’s open service will deliver improved real-time positioning accuracy, in combination with already existing GNSS constellations. Copernicus, Europe’s Earth observation system, consists of a complex set of systems that collect data from the Sentinel satellites and other sources. It bundles these data and provides users with reliable and up-to-date information through a set of services related to environmental and security issues.

Though there is already a wealth of applications for both European systems, their open data policies will enable the creation of new services and applications and, as a result, new business creation. Galileo determines a precise position anytime and anywhere on the globe, while Copernicus provides information on the Earth’s surface, its atmosphere and marine systems. The joint use of both systems in applications will unleash synergies and result in multiple benefits for the users.

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, 07/29/2016
Next Generation Train Control  workshop participants

On 7th of July, the Next Generation Train Control (NGTC) project, coordinated by UNIFE and supported by GNSS experts from the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA), held a user-oriented workshop to present the main outcomes of the work package related to the future use of European GNSS for train control.

The Virtual Balise concept took centre stage at the workshop. Currently, in the European Train Control System (ETCS), the positioning of a train is based on a ‘balise’ – a physical element mounted at specific intervals along the railway track. The GSA is working to ensure that, wherever possible, these physical balises are replaced by virtual ones. Virtual balises expand on the cost and efficiency benefits stemming from their integration of GNSS technology into the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). Furthermore, there use does not pose any operational or safety implications on the ETCS.

During the workshop, the GSA presented its roadmap for the introduction of European GNSS in railway safety relevant applications. The roadmap is the result of a series of consultations that has seen the GSA working together with rail and space industry stakeholders in order to enable the use of satellite-based positioning for railway signalling.

Safety first

NGTC was introduced as one of the lighthouse projects of Shift2Rail, a major European R&D Joint Undertaking paving the way for key technologies to enter into the railway domain, including European GNSS. The E-GNSS related work package contains an analysis of the ETCS operational scenarios and the underlying safety analysis, identifying the preliminary requirements needed from GNSS to allow proper functioning of the signalling system. The outcomes of the preliminary safety analysis, demonstrating the viability of the Virtual Balise concept, were discussed, along with other possible applications of GNSS technology in the rail domain. These discussions involved participants from the potential end-user communities, including European rail transport operators and infrastructure managers.

The data provided by NGTC is the cornerstone on which other projects, such as the GSA funded H2020 project Satellite Technology for Advanced Railway Signalling (STARS), will build from. Together, this work will advance research activities dedicated to achieving the integration of European GNSS into ERTMS.

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, 07/20/2016
These grants ensure that more European operators and aircraft, such as the ATR 42-600 (pictured) are able to take full advantage of EGNOS procedures.

European GNSS Agency (GSA) funds 14 projects to help foster the implementation of EGNOS-based operations and LPV-200 procedures at European airports as part of its 2015 Aviation Call for Grants.

The GSA recently announced the projects selected for funding under its 2015 Aviation Call for Grants GSA/EEX.0030/2015. This second call brought great results, with 14 projects selected for funding, starting from July and August 2016.

The funded projects are expected to foster the design, development and operational implementation of European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS)-based operations, including LPV-200 (localiser performance with vertical guidance) procedures, at different European aerodromes, with an emphasis on the regional airports and heliports that general and business aviation operators depend upon.

In addition, the call also aims to support the development and installation of GPS/EGNOS-enabled avionics and grant airworthiness certification for required navigation performance approach (RNP APCH) procedures down to LPV minima and point in space (PinS), and to achieve the approval of Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) for LPV operations of aircraft already equipped with satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) capabilities.

Specifically, the following results are expected:

  • 40 LPV procedures at 18 airports
  • 2 LPV-200 procedures at Italy’s Trento Airport
  • 15 PinS LPV procedures
  • 2 RNP 0.3 routes
  • 44 aircraft retrofitted by 9 operators
  • 4 avionics solutions (STC) development
  • 3 flight simulator-type upgrades
  • Development of EGNOS navigation and surveillance sensors for (RPAS) applications.

“These grants will ensure more European airports and more European operators are able to take full advantage of EGNOS procedures, meaning increased safety and more accessibility for everyone,” says GSA Head of Market Development GG Calini.

The total budget for the second call was EUR 6 million.

The funded projects are expected to foster the design, development and operational implementation of EGNOS-based operations, including LPV-200 procedures.

The funded projects are expected to foster the design, development and operational implementation of EGNOS-based operations, including LPV-200 procedures. (Click to enlarge)

 Increased safety

 

Lateral navigation (LNAV), LNAV/vertical navigation (VNAV) and LPV minima to runways 01 and  19

 Approach to runway 19 to be  designed with LPV-200  criteria

 

 

Project name Beneficiary Proposal Impact
AIRLA All Ireland LPV approach; project Irish Aviation
Authority

Significant reduction in the minima with reference to every  NPA currently published in the  Aeronautical information Publication (AIP)


Significant reduction in operational costs for airlines operating at regional (non-state) airports

 

LPV approach procedures at 9 state and regional airports in Ireland, with 21 procedures 

 

Restructure the airspace to facilitate direct RNAV arrivals (from en-route to an LPV  ‘T-BAR' type approach structure) for the planned runway in use

 

Increased safety

 

London Oxford Airport Oxford Aviation Services
Ltd

 

Lateral navigation (LNAV), LNAV/vertical navigation (VNAV)and LPV minima to runways 01 and 19


Approach to runway 19 to be designed with LPV-200 criteria

 

Primary regional and business aviation airport in the Thames Valley, identified by European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) members as a priority for LPV and operators already with LPV capabilities
Glasgow Prestwick Airport Glasgow Prestwick airport
Limited

 

LPV, LNAV and LNAV/VNAV to runways 21, 12 and 30


Replace, overlay and replicate the current conventional procedures

 

Substantially improved minima on runway 21 and a much more accurate arrival than currently provided by the non-directional beacon (NDB) or surveillance radar approach (SRA)
Cumbernauld Airport Cormack Aircraft
Services Limited
LPV on both runway ends (currently non-instrument)

 

Main operating base for Hebridean Air Services (LPV-capable), 2 ATOs, 2 rotorcraft operators and many private aircraft owners

 

GAGA GNSS approaches for general aviation AOPA UK
Helios
LPV approach procedures at 3 general aviation (GA) airports: Haverfordwest, Gloucestershire and Stapleford

 

Increased availability of instrument procedures for GA community

Support to training needs for instrument-rated (IR) pilots

Attract new commercial customers

 

London Southend and Carlisle Lake District Airports London Southend Airport company Limited
Stobart Air Limited
Implementation of LPV-200 at Southend and LPV + PinS at Carlisle

 

Considerable business aviation traffic, with many LPV-capable aircraft

Increased accessibility and safety compared to current NPA (Carlisle)

Attract new commercial operations based on better accessibility

 

ENAC Ecole Nationale de
l’aviation Civile

 

Retrofit of 12 BE58 aircraft with GTN650


Upgrade of 3 BE58 Flight Navigation Procedures Trainer (FNTP) II simulators

All Ecole Nationale de l'Aviation Civile (ENAC) flight instructors’ IR-ME training and operational feedback sessions to authorities, other ATOs and airlines

 

EGNOS adopted by one of the leading flight training organisations in Europe for professional instrument rating training


Expected total number of LPV landings on an annual basis is 6 200 in flight landings and 4 900 in simulator

Integration and promotion of LPV procedures in the ATO with the largest training fleet in Europe

Nextjet  Nextjet AB EGNOS LPV approach approved for installation in all Nextjet’s 10 Saab 340 platforms
STC development by Scandinavian Avionics

 

Large Scandinavian regional operator will be able to modernise and extend the flexibility of its Saab 340 operations, especially on small and remote airports

Lower cost of operation, with positive effect on customers due to reduction in delays in bad weather conditions

 

Svensk Pilotutbildning Svensk Pilotutbildning AB

Svensk Pilotutbildning, an ATO based at the Earth Science


Geostationary Platform (ESGP) in Sweden, plans to upgrade 3 aircraft and 2 simulators Provide PBN/EGNOS/LPV to existing IR students and other customers

 

ATO will make 1 250 in-flight LPV approaches on a yearly basis, within the normal training activities

Majority of training flights will be performed at the home base (ESGP) with LPV on both runway ends; nearby airports will have LPV by 2016

Equipped simulators will allow cost-effective training for students

 

Bristow  

Retrofit of 6 S92s and a second flight management system (FMS) to be LPV-capable


Add LPV capabilities to aircraft already equipped with one FMS that are certified for RNAV 5, RNAV 1/PRNAV and RNP APCH with LNAV minima

 

Major rotorcraft operator serving oil and gas (O&G) SAR and Arctic SAR.


Bases currently are Stavanger, Bergen and Hammerfest. Stavanger and Bergen have current LPV published. Bergen is currently equipped with two PinS approaches for helicopters with LNAV minima only

LPV adds such operational benefits as the possibility of fully coupled flight, potentially better minima and maybe steeper angles for further noise reduction

 

PIONEERS 2: Early adoption of PinS rotorcraft procedures Pildo Consulting S.L.; Austrocontrol; Christophorus; Flugrettungsverein; BMI-Flugpolizei; Norsk Luftamulanse; CHC helicopters
 Rotorcraft retrofit

 

Maximise the operational use of EGNOS in rotorcraft operations, enabling major helicopter emergency medical services (HEMSs) and off-shore operators with LPV capabilities, and also open the potential of EGNOS towards government operations (police and military)

 

EGNOS in the Czech Republic GNSS centre of Excellence; z.s.p.o.; DSA A.S.; F Air, SPOL. S.R.O.; RLP CR, S.P.; Aero-Taxi OKR, A.S.

Retrofit of 13 GA aircraft, 2 rotorcraft and 2 flight simulation training devices (FSTDs) with EGNOS-enabled avionics


Introduction of EGNOS for rotorcraft operations in CZ

 

LPV capabilities at two industry leaders in CZ for pilot training, covering +/- 60 % of national market, and +/- 20 % of market share in Central Europe


First PinS in CZ to be used by HEMS. Other hospitals waiting for operational feedback of this procedure

First PinS at busy international airport

 

Aeroporto Caproni P.A.T. Nucleo; Elicotteri VVF; Aeroporto ‘Gianni; Caproni’; S.p.A.

 

Design and validation of approach and departures supported by SBAS serving


Trento Airport and the helipad at Cles hospital Specific point-to-point link to connect the instrument flight procedure (IFP)

 

Increased safety and continuity of the medical and emergency operations
REAL: RPAS EGNOS-assisted landings Pildo Consulting S.L.; Sharper Shape Ltd; EuroUSC – Italia; FADA/CATEC

 

Develop an EGNOS-based navigation and surveillance sensor, ready to be coupled with a generic RPAS autopilot and ground station system


Contribute to the approval of innovative RPAS operations, supported by a safety case, which in turn is supported by high levels of accuracy and integrity provided by EGNOS

 

Validation in two scenarios:

Scenario 1: transport for urgent medicines

Scenario 2: Operations to extinguish fires

 

 

First 2015 Aviation Call for Grants GSA/GRANT/EGNOS/03/2014 producing results

Meanwhile, the 13 projects selected as part of the first call are all currently at various stages of implementation, with some already taking positive steps towards enabling EGNOS operations, particularly as they relate to regional aviation. Among these initial achievements is an upgrade of three simulators, with one having recently entered the market and the second to follow in the coming months. Another project is well on its way to successfully retrofitting a regional aircraft, making it to be another ‘ready to fly’ with EGNOS in 2017.

Overall, the first call is on course to publish up “first package “of 15 EGNOS procedures by the end of 2016.

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, 07/18/2016
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).

Thu, 07/14/2016
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus, the first European Galileo-ready smartphone to hit the market. ©BQ

Spanish technology company BQ announces that their new Aquaris X5 Plus smartphone will be the first European Galileo-ready smartphone to hit the market.

In anticipation of the planned launch of Galileo Initial Services later this year, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) welcomes the first European Galileo-ready smartphone. The Aquaris X5 Plus smartphone, produced by the Spanish technology company BQ, is based on the Galileo-supported Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, with Galileo capability accessible via a software update to be released in Q4 2016.

This news follows on the heels of the June 21 announcement by US-based Qualcomm that the company was adding support for Galileo across its Snapdragon processor and modern portfolios for smartphone, computing, automotive and IoT applications. Qualcomm Technologies is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies.

“Location Based Services (LBS) are undoubtedly the largest GNSS market segment, both in terms of number of devices and revenue potential, and thus are a strategic target for the GSA. I am glad to see Galileo is now starting to take-off in the smartphone arena,” says GSA Executive Director, Carlo des Dorides.

As a result of the uptake of Galileo by these two global technology leaders, EU citizens will be able to benefit from the improved location performance that Europe’s very own GNSS programme provides.
“The key to Galileo’s success in this market is to ensure its uptake by LBS device manufacturers. We are excited that a European smartphone manufacturer is  pioneering the use of Galileo for enhanced LBS solutions,” added GSA Head of Market Development, Gian Gherardo Calini.

It is a great privilege for BQ to be one of the first in the world to offer Galileo in our devices,” says BQ Assistant General Manager, Rodrigo del Prado. “This is a clear demonstration of Europe’s robust technological capabilities.”

“Qualcomm is pleased to have worked with BQ, the GSA and the European Commission on the Aquaris X5 Plus and the key milestone that Galileo support within the device represents. Accurate, reliable, and rapid position location is an important part of the mobile experience. Users will not only benefit from more accurate and faster position location, but also a powerful range of features enabled by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor,” says Roberto Di Pietro, Vice President of Business Development at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

The next-generation Aquaris X5 Plus smartphone comes equipped with a 3,200 mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa Core processor, up to 1.8 GHz and an Adreno 510 graphic processor of up to 550 MHz. It features a 16 Mpx back camera, Sony IMX298 sensor, f/2.0 dual tone flash and phase detection focus, along with a Sony IMX219 sensor-equipped 8 Mpx front camera. The phone offers 4K video recording, video stabiliser, fingerprint scanner and NFC.

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

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).