As 2015 draws to a close, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year – the challenges and the accomplishments – while also looking at what’s ahead.
2015 marked a very important year for the Agency and for the entire European GNSS community. Both of Europe’s GNSS programmes – Galileo and EGNOS – saw substantial progress. For Galileo 2015 was a record-breaking year, with the launch of six satellites. This, in addition to a ground segment already nearing completion, Galileo’s future looks brighter than ever.
In anticipation for the launch of Initial Services, the GSA has been busy preparing the user segment. For example, we recently launched ‘Fundamental Elements’, an R&D funding mechanism supporting the development of chipsets and receivers. This is an important part of the GSA’s overall strategy of market uptake, with the aim of facilitating the development of EGNOS and Galileo applications across different sectors of the economy.
Likewise, EGNOS continues to provide a solid performance – and with V2 and V3 ready for launch, this performance will only be further enhanced in the coming months. From the user perspective, we are continuing to see increases in EGNOS adoption across numerous market segments, including maritime and rail. In the aviation sector, for example, the launch of LPV 200 has seen more and more airports and aircraft operators choosing to become EGNOS-enabled. Thanks to our continued dialogue with a range of stakeholders, we fully expect this trend to continue.
Of course the success of both Galileo and EGNOS is heavily dependent on our ability to convert this technology into tangible benefits for the end user. For this reason, the GSA remains committed to supporting R&D activities. Along this line, we recently announced the results of the second call for Galileo applications under the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. Nearly EUR 25M in funding went to 13 projects, covering transport, surveying, location-based services, agriculture, emergency services and other professional applications.
Turning towards the future, I am honoured to have been re-elected to serve as the Executive Director of the GSA for another four years. In these upcoming years we will put into practice all that we have been preparing for. In 2016 the GSA will finalize the contract for the future Galileo service provider and by 2017 the Agency will be fully responsible for the service and operations of Galileo.
We enter the New Year in the midst of an exciting time for the GNSS market. As indicated in the GSA’s 2015 GNSS Market Report, which has become the industry reference, today there are more than 4 billion devices using GNSS services, and that number is expected to triple by 2023. The sector is estimated to grow at more than 8% each year until at least 2019. With all this potential for GNSS – and in particular European GNSS – the GSA is confident that together with the European GNSS community, we will be able to harness this technology and translate it into jobs, business opportunities and economic sustainability for the benefit of all European citizens.
Best wishes for a happy and fruitful 2016.
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