GSA

GSA

Wed, 04/19/2017

The all-new 2017 GSA GNSS Market Report will be launched in May, and here’s a sneak peek at the market intelligence and insight you’ll find inside.

When it comes to GNSS market intelligence and insight, the GSA’s GNSS Market Report sets the standard. Regularly referenced by policy-makers and business leaders around the world, the publication has earned its reputation as the go-to resource for an in-depth look at GNSS market opportunities and trends across an array of essential market segments.  

Since its launch in 2015, the 4th Issue of the GNSS Market Report has been downloaded over 43 000 times. Covering location-based services (LBS), road transportation, aviation, maritime, rail, agriculture, mapping and surveying, and timing and synchronisation, the report served a wide variety of industries, private businesses, institutions and public stakeholders.

New features ahead!

Building on this success, the 5th Issue of the GNSS Market Report will be launched during the European Navigation Conference (ENC), scheduled for 9 to 12 May in Lausanne, Switzerland. In addition to the information on shipments, revenues and installed receiver bases that you have come to expect from the report, this edition has some exciting new features, including:

  • an expanded section on such macro-trends as the Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Cities and Big Data, where GNSS has become an essential element;
  • segment-specific user perspectives, with an emphasis on the increasingly stringent demands of today’s GNSS users;  
  • the unique added value that EGNOS and Galileo brings to each segment and how, with the recent Declaration of Galileo Initial Services, Galileo is already enhancing the functioning of many applications;
  • a special feature on the important role that GNSS plays in the growing market of drones.

“Providing in-depth information on today’s GNSS market opportunities and a data-driven forecast of its evolution through to 2025, this edition will be a must-read for anyone looking to successfully navigate this exciting market,” says GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “I am confident that using this report in your day-to-day planning and strategic decision-making will give your business the competitive edge it needs to succeed.”

To make sure you don’t miss out, register today to be automatically notified when Issue 5 of the GSA GNSS Market Report is available for download.

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, 03/17/2017
The latest Galileo-enabled devices, showcased at the 2017 Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are the world’s premiere consumer electronics and mobile technology trade shows. Held annually every winter in Barcelona and Las Vegas respectively, many leading companies use the shows to launch new flagship products – and 2017 was no exception.

What was unique this year, however, was the increasing number of GNSS-based innovations being launched – including several Galileo-enabled smartphones and chipsets. “One trend seen at MWC was a convergence between IT, the Internet of Things (IoT), the automotive sector, and traditional positioning technology,” says GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini. “Whereas this show was once dominated by smartphones, it has now expanded to include autonomous vehicles, wearables, drones and even robots.” 

The same can be said of CES. “CES is the place to be not only for such traditional segments as LBS and road, but also emerging segments like drones, IoT and other cross-sectional solutions,” says GSA Market Development Officer for LBS and IoT Justyna Redelkiewicz.

Whether it be a chipset, smartphone, drone, robot or autonomous car, many of the technologies on display at MWC and CES were Galileo capable. Here’s a look at the role European GNSS plays in many of today’s most cutting-edge innovations. 

Galileo-enabled smartphones and chipsets

International technology giant Huawei took the MWC stage to unveil its new P10 and P10 plus smartphones, both of which come Galileo-ready. For users, this means they can expect their Huawei phone to provide them with more precise positioning and better performance. Meanwhile at CES, the company announced its entry into the US market with the introduction of the Galileo-enabled Mate 9 smartphone.

One of the biggest surprises at MWC came from the Sony booth, where the company announced its new Xperia ZX Premium flagship smartphone. The phone will be the first to feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip. This multi-constellation capable chip, which includes Galileo, features an advanced 10 nanometre design. Also promoted during CES, the 835 chip is 35 % smaller and uses 25 % less power than previous designs and has been engineered to deliver exceptionally long batter life, life-like virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, cutting-edge camera capabilities and Gigabit-class download speeds. 

Getting ready for a 5G world

A key topic on everyone’s minds at both shows was 5G. According to Intel, 5G is expected to be one of the most important technological developments of our time, capable of connecting billions of ‘things’ that have never been connected before. In doing so, it will bring intelligence and data to cars, homes, buildings, factories, cities and infrastructure – fundamentally transforming the way we live. In order to realise the full potential of 5G, Intel is currently delivering new technologies, such as the Galileo-capable XMN 7560 chipset.

A different kind of mobile

Although the Mobile in Mobile World Congress traditionally referred to mobile phones, laptops and tablets, this year a different kind of mobile arrived: the car. For the first time, such automotive manufacturers as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ford and Peugeot all made an appearance on the exhibition floor. Although a regular feature at CES, as more and more vehicles become connected, one can only expect that this won’t be the last time we see vehicles at MWC.

This developing relationship between automotive manufacturers and mobile companies was on clear display at both MWC and CES. Take for example Peugeot’s Instinct concept car, which features the Samsung Artik Cloud IoT connectivity platform capable of aggregating data from smartphones and social networks. This data is then used to create unique profiles of the vehicle’s user.

Mercedes-Benz showcased several products from its Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service and Electric Drive (CASE) strategy. One crowd favourite at MWC was the Smart Ready to Share service, which lets car owners share their vehicle with others, and the Smart Ready to Drop service, which allows packages to be delivered right to the trunk of your car. At CES, the company highlighted its Vision Van, a study for what it terms as the “innovative delivery van of the future”. The vehicle combines electric propulsion and a fully automated cargo space with integrated delivery drones. The van is a case study for the IoT vehicle, coming with such built-in smart technologies as a new telematics unit that collects and processes data concerning the status of a delivery, the present GNSS-based location and a fully automated management system.

Meanwhile, BMW demonstrated how its Connected Service keeps their customers on time, in touch and in control via such touch points as smartphones, smartwatches and voice assistants. In its current format, the service helps users with trip planning and remote control functions. However, in the near future, this capability will be expanded to include alerting when the car is due for service and offering a choice of appointments available at the local dealer. At a CES press conference, the company announced that it plans to put a fleet of 40 autonomous BMW 7 Series test vehicles on the road by the second half of this year.

One highlight at CES was the unveiling of the Toyota Concept-I vehicle, which will be able to measure your emotional responses to the places you drive, using this information to build a relationship between the vehicle and the user. Also at CES, Honda unveiled its Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem concept, which brings together artificial intelligence, robotics and big data. The concept aims to mitigate traffic congestion and eliminate traffic fatalities while also increasing the productivity of road users and delivering new opportunities for in-vehicle entertainment.

Of course the success of all these connected cars depends on the availability of accurate and reliable GNSS. A key roadblock to their development is that the available level of guidance and positioning relies on what has been called “severe simplification of road descriptions” that are not valid for such next-generation uses as lane-level positioning. “The launch of Galileo Initial Services has allowed the industry to take an important step towards achieving the necessary level of accuracy and reliability,” explains GSA Deputy Head of Market Development Fiammetta Diani.

According to Diani, with Galileo satellites working in conjunction with GPS, there are more satellites available, meaning more accurate and reliable positioning for end users. In particular, navigation in cities, where satellite signals can often be blocked by tall buildings, benefit from the increased positioning accuracy this provides. “Galileo also offers a second frequency, E5, and a planned authenticated signal capable of detecting spoofing attacks – both essential contributions for the safe operation of autonomous cars,” she says.

Dawn of the GNSS age

Both MWC and CES saw an increase in the number of drone companies on the show floor, with 42 different UAV companies exhibiting at CES alone. Although none of the products on display were Galileo ready yet, many companies noted that they had plans for doing so in the coming months. This is because many see GNSS as an answer to mounting concerns about drone safety, especially in light of reports of crashes and of incidents where drones have encroached on security-critical spaces. Luckily, GNSS offers a solution.

“In order to operate safely, drones are becoming increasingly dependent on satellite navigation signals, including Galileo, for their precise positioning and orientation information,” says GSA Manager of the GNSS Market Report Martin Sunkevic. “It is because of this precise positioning that drones and all of the innovations seen at MWC and CES depend on that GNSS will become the essential infrastructure for the technology of tomorrow.” 

The upcoming 2017 GSA GNSS Market Report will include a special section on UAVs.

 

Wed, 03/15/2017

The World ATM Congress is the must-attend trade event for the air traffic management sector, welcoming participants from across the world who come to showcase the latest innovations, services and products. One of those services on display in Madrid was the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).

EGNOS, which was designed for aviation, has revolutionised the way we fly – creating more access to small and regional airports, increasing safety and facilitating business across Europe. From the commercial, regional, general and business aviation sectors to OEMs, airports and the end user – everyone benefits from EGNOS. 

As to the airports – the focus of the congress – there are already over 430 EGNOS-enabled procedures available at over 300 different European airports. According to GSA Market Development Officer Carmen Aguilera, more than 500 procedures are planned. “These procedures will increase accessibility to regional airports, support decongestion of main hubs and provide suitable alternatives or backups for Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) – all while EGNOS implementation is spreading to more even countries,” she says.

                Read this: EGNOS can crack the capacity crunch!

When you consider the safety and cost benefits of EGNOS implementation, it’s no wonder that so many airports are enthusiastic about publishing EGNOS-enabled localiser performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches. “Many of these 300 airports are small and regional airports that simply cannot afford the high cost of installing and maintaining ground-based ILS,” explains Aguilera.

“For Slovakia, which was one of the first countries to adopt EGNOS LPV procedures, it was simply a matter of increased safety,” says LPS SR Head of ATM Planning and Procedures Ratislav Primus. “With EGNOS, we can provide accurate vertical guidance – making airports across Slovakia much safer.”

As an alternative to ground-based ILS navigational aids, EGNOS utilises geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations to receive, analyse and augment GPS signals. With EGNOS, these satellite signals become suitable for such safety-critical applications as aircraft landings. Thus, the EGNOS LPV 200 service level provides vertical guidance that enables reaching a decision height as low as of 200 feet. This is a capability similar to what is provided by ground-based navigational aids, but without the same financial burden of installing, maintaining and calibrating ground equipment.      

“I highly recommend implementing EGNOS Cat-I procedures leveraging LPV-200, especially for smaller airports, but also as a valuable add-on for larger airports,” says Austro Control Head of ATM-CNS Procedure Design Team Daniel Schaad. “It’s worked well for us and, increasingly, for airlines too. It is very innovative with ILS performance and we’re happy to have EGNOS procedures in our portfolio – I think it’s a good option for everybody.”

New models and retrofit too

Of course having all of these procedures isn’t very useful if nobody uses them. This is why, in addition to facilitating the launch of new EGNOS procedures, the GSA is also committed to working with manufacturers to ensure the latest aircraft and rotorcraft coming onto the market are EGNOS-ready. Thanks to these efforts, most new aircraft models have EGNOS-capability, including models from such leading manufacturers as ATR, Airbus, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon Jets, Hawker, Beechcraft and Pilatus. According to the GSA, this list is expected to continue to increase in the near future. 

                And this: Europe’s aviation community enthusiastic about EGNOS

In addition to new aircraft models, the GSA also noted a rise in the number of available retrofit solutions. “These retrofit solutions enable in service aircraft to add EGNOS capabilities,” says Aguilera. “The GSA is working with operators and avionics manufacturers to increase the available retrofit options for the most common models.”

Moving up, moving fast

With EGNOS Version 3 set to enter service in the near future, EGNOS will also augment Galileo, thus further increasing performance and improving accuracy, resilience and safety.

“The principle behind EGNOS – of providing a space-based navigation system – means operators can equip their planes with fairly light-weight receivers and make use of satellite signals with minimal ground-based infrastructure required,” adds European Regional Airlines Association General Manager Policy and Technical Russel Dudley. “Speaking for our association and members, we are strong proponents of EGNOS as it has proved itself an incredibly useful and meaningful tool.”

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, 02/07/2017

The timing services supplied by global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) are an increasingly important, but often unrecognised, part of today’s modern infrastructure.

This is because the vital role of space-based timing is only exposed when it fails – something that became abundantly clear in January 2016, when a software upload to US GPS satellites induced a 13-microsecond misalignment.

Although this might seem like a small difference, it had a big impact. The glitch caused GPS receivers to exhibit different and unwanted behaviour that led to a loss of synchronisation across a number of systems, including power grids and financial markets. Although the issue was quickly detected and resolved in a few hours, it nonetheless had a real global impact, with numerous digital TV and radio networks failing and some financial customers reporting issues.

“What we learn from this incident is how much our critical infrastructures, the telecom sector and financial services rely on GNSS-provided timing and synchronisation,” says GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini. “This reliance will only increase as smarter power grids are developed and more sophisticated mobile communication networks, such as 5G, are deployed in support of the Internet of Things (IoT) and other sensor networks.”

Increasing demand

According to the latest edition of the GSA’s GNSS Market Report, the telecom sub-segment is the main driver of the global GNSS Timing and Synchronisation market. With the upgrade of the power distribution network, GNSS penetration in this market is expected to reach 10 % in 2017. “As this market segment continues to expand it will demand more and better synchronisation, for which the timing precision of Galileo’s free-of-charge Open Service is essential,” says Calini.

With the Declaration of Galileo Initial Services last year, the timing and synchronisation community can already take advantage of Galileo’s unique benefits, including:

  • interoperability with GPS
  • improved resilience
  • increased robustness to spoofing
  • independent European solutions under civilian control.   

One example of a company already taking advantage of Galileo is Meinberg, a German high-technology company specialising in the development and manufacturing of electronic devices and systems for time and frequency synchronisation and distribution. The company’s new Meinberg GNS181 receiver introduces multi-GNSS capabilities for all synchronisation applications and is one of the first commercially available time and synchronisation solutions with Galileo support.

The module can be configured to select up to three different GNSS constellations to be used in parallel, supporting GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, and Beidou, as well as combinations of the four satellite systems. It is also fully compatible with Meinberg’s Intelligent Modular Synchronization (IMS) product family, meaning users can easily add it as a second, redundant clock module to their already deployed IMS systems or field-replace their current IMS clock modules with the new multi-GNSS capable board.

According to Meinberg Managing Director Heiko Gerstung, although the GNS181 receiver can be used in all types of applications, one of the most popular uses is with stock exchanges. In fact, it is currently utilised by most of the world’s leading exchanges. “The Galileo capability means the receiver synchs trade systems within the individual exchanges, so every buy or sell transaction can be time stamped very accurately,” he says.

Gerstung goes on to explain how the addition of Galileo benefits customers at two levels. “First, it serves as another source of time, in addition to GPS, which adds a layer of redundancy and allows a user to compare the two times,” he says. “As Galileo is the only civilian run GNSS system, it also gives our customers the option of using a European, non-military based source of time – which many of our global customers value greatly.” 

Time as a service

The GSA supports further uptake of Galileo in this important market segment via various opportunities for funding. For example, the Horizon 2020-funded DEMETRA project has demonstrated the feasibility of delivering European GNSS’s (EGNSS) improved timing services to end-users by utilising an operational demonstrator and conducting tests with representative pilot applications and real users.

Watch the DEMETRA H2020 project video

Based on the current practice of national metrological laboratories, the project has defined and developed a prototype of a European time disseminator based on EGNSS. An array of important service features necessary for a wide variety of users has been added, including high-accuracy calibrated time transfer to a monitored and certified remote time-stamping.

With DEMETRA, time becomes a service, ensuring reliability, integrity, authentication and certification are available through optical, radio, space and internet links anywhere in the world. In other words, it’s a complete infrastructure dedicated to the provision of time services based on Galileo.

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, 01/05/2017

With last month’s Declaration of Galileo Initial Services, anyone with a mass-market device containing a Galileo-enabled chipset, such as a smartphone or a vehicle navigation device, can be guided using the positioning, navigation and timing information provided by Galileo’s global satellite constellation.

“Clearly, the Declaration of Galileo Initial Services is big news for chipset, receiver and device manufacturers and application developers operating in the GNSS market, whose Galileo-enabled products can now start using Galileo signals,” says GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “Today, we invite the industry to showcase their Galileo-enabled products to the media and to users.”

Market ready

The strong cooperation between the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and receiver industry has made it possible for Galileo to arrive onto the market even before the declaration of Initial Services. For example, Broadcom and Qualcomm, the market leaders for global smartphone chips supply, had already built Galileo into their products. As a result, many smartphones coming onto the market this year will arrive Galileo-ready.
“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.”
Over the course of the past several years and in anticipation of Galileo Initial Services, such key chipset manufacturers as Intel, Mediatek, u-blox and STM have all announced Galileo-ready chips. Overall, more than 95% of the global satellite navigation supply market produce Galileo-ready chips.

Road and surveying now, aviation and maritime soon

Currently, most Galileo-enabled chipsets and receivers are found in the automotive, consumer, agriculture and surveying sectors. For example, in the road sector, satellites help with vehicle navigation and fleet management. “Today, Galileo ensures the accuracy of the satellite signals these services depend on and, in the near future, Galileo will help autonomous driving and connected vehicles,” says GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini.
In the high-precision market, all leading receiver developers have integrated Galileo into their products, including Trimble, Leica Geosystems, Javad, TopCon, Septentrio and NovAtel. “The availability of the first three Galileo services validates our confidence that Europe is ready to join the world’s operators of global navigation satellite systems,” says NovAtel President and CEO Michael Ritter. “NovAtel’s high precision GNSS receivers, antennas and certified ground-reference station receivers have supported Galileo signals in anticipation of the complete constellation.”
Galileo will soon be providing support to location based operations in all other market segments. For example, receivers for Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS) are already capable of tracking the Galileo signal. On the maritime side, Galileo is helping to ensure safer navigation on the water, and has been recognised by the International Maritime Organisation as part of its Worldwide Radio Navigation System.
“The GSA is excited to continue its close cooperation with chipset and receiver manufacturers in the coming years as we further optimise Galileo performance and maximise user benefits,” says Calini. Along these lines, the 2017 Annual Receiver Workshop is scheduled for March 21 at GSA headquarters in Prague. This regular event is an excellent opportunity for the GNSS receiver community to learn the latest about the Galileo programme.

First Galileo smartphones

With Galileo, the positioning information provided by smartphones is more accurate and reliable – particularly in urban environments where narrow streets and tall buildings often block satellite signals and limit the usefulness of many mobile services. One of the first device manufacturers to take advantage of the increased accuracy and reliability that Galileo provides is BQ, the Spanish technology company that launched the first European-designed Galileo smartphone to hit the market.
“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.”
Other smartphone manufacturers are also preparing to activate Galileo capability on their devices. In fact, just prior to the Declaration of Initial Services, the Huawei Mate 9 added Galileo support to the phone’s technical specifications.

Up-to-date info on using Galileo

To keep users up-to-date with detailed information on all available Galileo-compatible products, the GSA launched www.useGalileo.eu. From this dedicated website users can easily browse the list of currently available Galileo products and devices and search for devices based on user segment. 
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 the article back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

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, 12/22/2016

The European GNSS Agency (GSA), together with EUROCONTROL, recently held a two-day meeting at its Prague headquarters. More than 120 people participated, including national air navigation service providers and authorities, civil and military aircraft operators, pilots, international aviation associations, equipment manufacturers and rotorcraft operators. 

“The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) was originally built for the aviation sector, and the significant interest in this meeting is evidence of how the value of EGNOS is strongly recognised by the entire aviation community,” says GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides.
Whereas the first day served as an opportunity for the many GSA-funded aviation projects to gather together and share their experiences in regards to EGNOS adoption, the second day was dedicated to the 11th meeting of the Area Navigation (RNAV) Approach implementation Support Group (RAiSG). On its agenda were such aviation-critical topics as implementation updates, status of the EGNOS service provision, SBAS CAT I operational safety assessment guidance, and the latest developments coming from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). RAiSG is charged with coordinating the activities necessary for the implementation of RNAV approach procedures.
“The GSA supports the implementation of EGNOS not just through funding, but also by providing technical assistance, support and close cooperation with such aviation user associations as the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), along with overseeing the development of the GNSS user group,” explains GSA Market Development Officer Carmen Aguilera.

The EGNOS effect
During the first day, projects funded under the first and second calls of the EGNOS adoption aviation grant programme had an opportunity to present and discuss the challenges, successes, lessons learnt and best practices experienced by their projects. Presenters included operators, airport managers, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and national civil aviation authorities.
Highlights included discussions on:

“With these projects we are creating a snowball effect for the adoption of EGNOS,” says Aguilera. “For example, the development of supplemental-type certificates during the first call allowed other projects to begin creating retrofit solutions for over 260 aircraft.”
According to Aguilera, one of the most popular topics for discussion was rotorcraft operations using EGNOS. “By bringing together all relevant players in one room, we are helping to foster adoption in this important sector and harmonising EGNOS-based rotorcraft operations in Europe,” she says.
“This event was a resounding success because it provided a unique opportunity for aviation stakeholders to come together and learn from each other’s experiences in regards to implementing projects that benefit the aviation community as a whole,” adds EUROCONTROL Director of Pan-European Sky Adriaan Heerbaart. 

A partnership for aviation
The workshop was organised within the context of the Framework Partnership Agreement between EUROCONTROL and the GSA. Since 2014, the two organisations have worked together to develop advanced systems and operations for aviation based on space technology. In particular, they are focused on improving airport accessibility, aviation efficiency and air traffic management capacity, while also reducing safety risks and costs.
Signed in 2015, the Framework Partnership Agreement covers a 7-year period and focuses on a range of activities, including:

  • aviation user requirements for EGNOS and Galileo
  • supporting the use of European GNSS services in the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) area
  • coordinating research and development (R&D) within the aviation sector;
  • standardising aviation regulations
  • monitoring aviation-specific GNSS performance
  • supporting the uptake of European GNSS for aviation at the international level


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 the article back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Mon, 12/19/2016

In 2015, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) launched Fundamental Elements, an R&D funding mechanism supporting the development of global navigation satellite system-(GNSS) enabled chipsets, receivers and antennas. The mechanism aims to support the development of innovative chipset and receiver technology that industry would not invest in on its own initiative, thus accelerating their integration of Galileo and EGNOS into market-ready devices. The end goal is to develop close-to-market chipsets, receivers and antennas in targeted markets. The first project to come out Fundamental Elements is dedicated to the automotive segment.      

With connected vehicles and autonomous driving vehicles being the most relevant trend in the automotive sector – both now and for the foreseeable future – there is a clear need to provide accurate and reliable positioning information for safety-critical applications. Within the context of road transportation, safety-critical applications are defined as those that possess the potential to, directly or indirectly, avoid causing harm to humans, destroying the vehicle or damaging external property or the environment. Autonomous driving, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and dangerous goods transportation are all included in this group.

Also read: Driving towards the autonomous vehicle

The traditional way of providing the required accurate and reliable positioning information is to make use of multiple sources of sensor data. The problem with this approach is that it requires the use of such sophisticated equipment as radar/lidar-based sensor and cameras, which tend to be expensive. Furthermore, as this equipment is not specifically designed for use with automotive consumer applications, it is not fully suitable to provide reliable positioning information.

A dedicated solution
The European Safety Critical Applications Positioning Engine (ESCAPE) project aims to overcome these multiple challenges by developing a dedicated, reliable and accurate engine, specifically designed for automotive safety-critical applications. The ESCAPE project is funded under the Fundamental Elements Development of E-GNSS engine for safety-critical multi-applications in road transport call.

Read this: Satellite navigation at core of future connected car systems

The project consortium includes stakeholders from across the automotive value chain, including Renault, FICOSA, GMV and ST. Under the ESCAPE umbrella, these companies are pooling their complementary competences and pre-existing knowledge to develop an innovative positioning engine that exploits European GNSS (E-GNSS) differentiators and will be available for future commercialisation. Ultimately, the project will develop the first multi-constellation Galileo chipset receiver with multi-frequency capability specifically adapted to road applications – and in particular autonomous vehicles. 

Re-defining the state of the art
According to project researchers, the ESCAPE engine will surpass current definitions of ‘state of the art’. “For the first time, an E-GNSS engine will provide an integrity-focused, safety-critical positioning system that fully integrates GNSS, on-board sensors, cameras and maps,” says GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini. The engine’s core features include:

  • a GNSS/Galileo multi-constellation, multi-frequency chipset for road applications
  • use of the precise point positioning (PPP) service
  • hybridisation of cameras, maps, vehicle sensors and GNSS integrated into a tight coupling filter
  • provision of an integrity layer to the exploited technologies
  • optional capability to implement navigation message authentication

Over the course of three years, these technologies will be integrated into the resulting ESCAPE engine. At that point, the engine will be close to commercialisation, with rapid market uptake expected.

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, 12/16/2016

With the Declaration of Galileo Initial Services, Galileo officially moves from a testing phase to the provision of live services. For the first time ever, users around the world can be guided using the positioning, navigation and timing information provided by Galileo’s global satellite constellation. Starting now, any mass-market device containing a Galileo-enabled chipset, such as smartphones and vehicle navigation devices, can use Galileo.

“Today we are really making history,” says European Commission Vice President responsible for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič. “With Galileo, Europe gains its own satellite navigation system that will improve a range of everyday services for our citizens and strengthens Europe’s strategic autonomy.”

“Galileo is now alive and kicking,” says Elzbieta Bienkowska European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. “Galileo Initial Services is the result of a concerted effort to design and build the most accurate navigation system in the world. It demonstrates the technological excellence of Europe and its commitment to delivering space-based services and applications and, as such, represents a special achievement of a united Europe.”

GSA in the driver’s seat

With the launch of Initial Services, Galileo officially transitions from a system in testing to a system in service. As Europe’s link between space technology and user needs, the GSA has been delegated the responsibility for the Galileo service provision by the European Commission. As of 1 January 2017, the GSA will have the core task of ensuring a return on investment from Galileo in the form of clear, across-the-board services and applications for end users.

 

“The GSA is now putting into practice all that it has been preparing for,” adds GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “The centre of gravity for the Galileo programme is now the user and, meaning European citizens, businesses and entrepreneurs can benefit from the many innovative opportunities created by European GNSS.”

In overseeing the Galileo service provision, the GSA will:

  • oversee the operation of such key service facilities as the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) in France and the United Kingdom, the GSC in Spain and the Galileo Reference Centre (GRC) in the Netherlands;
  • maximise adoption across user market segments and fostering EU economic and industrial benefits;
  • make the Public Regulated Service (PRS) the service of choice for all authorised users, providing the same high level of availability and robustness that is otherwise only available from military-based GNSS systems (GPS, GLONASS, Beidou);
  • position Galileo as the first constellation of choice in search and rescue beacons.

What Galileo Initial Services means for you

With Galileo Initial Services, users benefit from a more accurate navigation and positioning that saves time and allows one to travel safer. For example, thanks to Galileo’s Search and Rescue service, locating distress beacons is substantially improved. As a result, after someone activates a distress beacon, the time to find them, whether they are lost at sea or in the mountains, is reduced from up to three hours to just ten minutes. Additionally, the distress beacon’s location can be more accurately determined, to within 5km – a substantial improvement on the current 10km.

Europe will also enjoy substantial economic growth. This is because the use of satellite navigation has helped drive world economic growth, particularly in high-tech industries. Experts predict that the global satellite navigation market will itself grow by more than 18% up until 2019. The additional resiliency provided by Galileo is expected to enable a range of new applications and services that will benefit from increased positioning reliability, thus further driving economic growth in Europe and beyond.

Galileo compatible products available today

The Declaration of Galileo Initial Services is also excellent news for chipset and receiver manufacturers and application developers, whose Galileo-enabled products can now start using Galileo signals.
 
Today, 17 companies, representing more than 95% of the global satellite navigation supply market, produce Galileo-ready chips. These include such key chipset manufacturers as u-blox, Broadcom, Mediatek, Intel and Qualcomm. There are also a number of Galileo-ready devices on the market, including smartphones and in-vehicle navigation systems.

You can find up-to-date information on all available Galileo compatible products at www.useGalileo.eu

Understanding Initial Services

Galileo is Europe’s Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS). The Declaration of Initial Services – a combined effort of the European Commission, European GNSS Agency (GSA), and European Space Agency (ESA) – is the first step towards reaching full operational capability.

The first services offered by Galileo include the Open Service, Public Regulated Service (PRS) and Search and Rescue Service (SaR). All of these services are available free of charge.

Galileo Initial Services are fully interoperable with GPS – a combination that provides users with considerable improvements, with stronger performance and service levels. With Galileo satellites working in conjunction with GPS, there are more satellites available, meaning more accurate and reliable positioning for end users. In particular, navigation in cities, where satellite signals can often be blocked by tall buildings, benefit from the increased positioning accuracy this provides.
History in the making

Galileo is unique in that it is the only civil-based GNSS initiative. Whereas the United States’ GPS, Russia’s GLONASS, and China’s Beidou systems – among others – are all operated by their respective militaries, Europe’s Galileo programme stands alone as the world’s only option for GNSS under civil control. This is an important distinction, especially as the world’s dependence on GNSS continues to increase. From individuals to private businesses, the public sector and academia, as more and more services become dependent on the availability of an accurate GNSS signal, the implications of a possible signal failure becomes increasingly dangerous.

With some foresight, 20 years ago the EU recognised the need for a European-controlled satellite navigation system. In the years since, the EU has successfully launched and implemented EGNOS and, today, Galileo Initial Services.

Initial Services is the first step toward full operational capability, which will occur when the Galileo constellation is complete by 2020. Between the declaration of Initial Services and full operational capability, additional satellites will be added to the constellation, allowing new services to become available.

Learn more

The GSA’s Galileo Initial Services page


The European GNSS Service Centre is the place to go for all things related to developing Galileo-capable products and services. 

 

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 the article back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Fri, 11/11/2016
The event brought together over 60 chipset and receiver manufacturers, government authorities and end users.

In an effort to promote the benefits of Galileo and the imminent declaration of Initial Services to the broader GNSS user community in Sweden, the Swedish Board of Radio Navigation (RNN) recently held a seminar in Stockholm with the participation of the European GNSS Agency (GSA). Entitled How can Galileo contribute to more cost-effective production applications in the PNT field?, the seminar provided an overview of how Sweden is preparing to implement Galileo signals into professional Positioning, Navigation and Time (PNT) applications.

The event brought together over 60 chipset and receiver manufacturers, government authorities and end users who discussed such topics as: the efforts and requirements for implementing Galileo into GNSS-equipment and Network Real Time Kinetic (RTK) platforms, testing and needs, status of Sweden’s national GNSS infrastructure, and an overview of how Galileo is set to enhance PNT services in Sweden.

Infrastructure and Equipment are getting ready

According to a GNSS-user panel, there is an expectation that Galileo will:

  • Improve GNSS-measurements
  • Allow users to take measurements in environments with limited satellite visibility (i.e., in urban settings and dense tree cover)
  • Decrease uncertainty in a signal’s position and time

The panel was comprised of local authorities from Malmö (Sweden’s third largest city), forest administrators from Lidingö, Lantmäteriet (the Swedish Mapping Cadastral and Land Registration Authority), WSP Consultancy Group, the Swedish Maritime Administration, and marine surveying company Clinton Marin Survey and Time Applications. 

The panel members expect that Galileo will improve their GNSS-measurements in environments with limited “satellite visibility” and decrease uncertainty in position and time determination.  Panel members noted that additional field tests showing the benefits of implementing Galileo data and a list of Galileo-enabled equipment would be helpful to them as they make the transition towards Galileo. Here the GSA noted that numerous chipset and receiver manufacturers – including Leica, Topcon and Trimble – are already offering Galileo-enabled equipment, products and applications. In fact, according to the GSA’s GNSS Market Report, almost 60% of all available receivers, chipsets and modules support a minimum of two GNSS constellations. Of these, nearly 40% are Galileo compatible – a figure that is increasing every day. As of December 2016, a full list of Galileo-enabled products, services and devices will be available at www.useGalileo.eu.

The Agency also noted that with the imminent declaration of Initial Services, the Galileo GNSS constellation will become operationally ready to offer its first range of services, including the Open Service, Public Regulated Service (PRS) and Search and Rescue Service (SAR). The Declaration of Galileo Initial Services is the first step towards full operational capability, which will occur when the Galileo constellation is complete in 2020. Between the Declaration of Galileo Initial Services and full operational capability, additional satellites will be added to the constellation, allowing new services to become available. 

Positive Signs in Sweden

According to SWEPOS, the Swedish network of permanent reference stations has Galileo-compatible equipment on all of its 300 stations. The network is now only waiting for the manufacturer to provide a software upgrade so the system can handle Galileo data on its control side. On-going developments on the infrastructure required to use Galileo and EGNOS in professional applications were also reported by representatives of the Swedish Maritime Authority, Luftfartsverket Air Navigation Services and Lantmäteriet.

Likewise, Lantmäteriet and Chalmers University reported on their Galileo field-tests on the ability for GNSS equipment to process Galileo signals. According to the researchers, although the tests show that Galileo can already be used, additional testing is needed in order to demonstrate all the benefits of implementing Galileo capabilities. 

Great Expectations

Many participants left noting that they look forward to a close cooperation between infrastructure providers, the user community, research institutes and equipment manufacturers for a cost-effect and smooth implementation of Galileo into professional GNSS applications in Sweden. And although with the launch of Galileo Initial Services comes great expectations from the end users, as can be seen from this seminar, Sweden is well on its way to meeting them. 

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, 09/20/2016

 

The European GNSS Agency (GSA), along with the e-KnoT project and in conjunction with project partner bavAIRia e.V. (the Bavarian Aerospace Cluster), recently held a two-day seminar providing engineers and scientists working in GNSS and the space sector with insights into the patent process and the scope and content of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) protection along the value chain.

Over the summer, the GSA-funded e-KnoT project, in conjunction with project partner bavAIRia e.V. (the Bavarian Aerospace Cluster), held a two-day seminar providing engineers and scientists working in GNSS and the space sector with insights into the patent process and the scope and content of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) protection along the value chain.

Topics included the different forms of IPR and how to best protect each of them, along with practical insight on IPR contractual provisions in EU and GSA grants and procurements, as well as in ESA projects.

The event was offered in cooperation with BHO Legal, Cologne and Munich, and supported by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk and Munich. 

What is IPR?

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. ‘By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish’, says the WIPO.

IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. A patent, perhaps the most common method for protecting IPR, is essentially a legal title granting the holder the right to prevent third parties from commercially using an invention without prior authorisation. In return for this protection, the holder is required to disclose the invention to the public. Typically patent protection is granted for a limited period of time (up to 20 years) and for a specified geographic area.

Within the world of GNSS, examples of IPR include the European Patent for the modulation signal for a satellite navigation system. It can also include technology and product design, such as a GNSS integrated antenna.

How do I protect my IPR?

On a European scale, IPR is managed by the European Patent Office. With limited exceptions, in order to receive a patent, the invention must be new, involve an inventive step and be industrially applicable. Typically, patent claims relate to a product, a process, an apparatus or a method. In order to file a patent in Europe, an inventor has three options:

  1. European route: applicant files a direct European application (i.e., first filing)
  2. National route: applicant files a national application first and, following that, a European application (i.e., second filing) within 12 month after filing the national application and claiming priority from said application.
  3. International route: applicant files a PCT application according to the international Patent Cooperation Treaty, and, following that, the applicant enters the European/ National phase (after 30/31 months after filing).

To file, the applicant begins by preparing a description of the invention, one or more claims and, when applicable, some graphs and drawings. The application could be filed online, by fax or post. Once received, the patent office first checks the document for compliance and, if compliant, assigns it a date of filing – which protects it against any similar patent being filed at the same time (i.e., the first to file gets the patent).

In case of option one, the EPO then conducts a search and examination procedure to ensure the invention has not already been patented in Europe. Based on this search, the patent office will issue a search report and preliminary opinion on patentability. Next, applications are examined by a panel of three expert examiners who check that the scope of protection is limited to what is actually patentable.

Help! My patent has been infringed!

Even with a patent, your IPR can still be violated. A patent infringement is defined as the commission of a prohibited act with regard to a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. However, it should be noted that infringement can only occur in countries where a patent is in force; a pending patent application is not sufficient for infringement.

To determine if a patent has been infringed, a specific test is used, requiring that the infringing party’s product or method falls within one or more of the (independent) claims of the patent. If, however, it is shown that the patent holder is not practicing the patented invention, that the infringing party is not performing on any infringing act in the territory covered by the patent, that the patent has expired or has otherwise become invalid, then no infringement will be found.

IPR and European GNSS

So how does this all apply to the development of GNSS technologies? First, it must be remembered that the legal framework for the European GNSS programme is set by the the European Union. The GNSS Regulation specifies that the Union shall be the owner of all tangible and intangible assets created or developed under the Galileo and EGNOS programmes. The Commission shall ensure the optimal use of these assets and an effective IPR management, taking into account the need to protect and give value to the Union's intellectual property rights, the interests of all stakeholders, and the necessity of harmonious development of the markets and of new technologies.

In practice, IPR management is implemented on the level of contracts, with dedicated and sometimes highly complex provisions. The applicability of certain IPR rules depends on whether a project receives a grant (complementary financing, subject to annual programming) or goes through public procurement (process where public authorities purchase work, goods or services).

As a general rule, the EU becomes the owner of all tangible and intangible assets developed or created under public contracts resulting from procurements. As to grants, however, the beneficiary, with exceptions, typically maintains the rights to IP. In this context, it is important to note that although the Commission and the GSA issue both grants and procurements, the ESA only issues procurements.

Where can I learn more?

Clearly, the area of IPR in the context of GNSS is highly complex. To learn more the national and the European Patent Offices offer helpdesks. In addition, especially around the main premises of these institutions, a wide community of specialised patent attorneys is ready to support you. Often regions like Bavaria have an interest to support filing of technology-related patents, so it is a good idea to look for the local aerospace cluster in your region and contact them.

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).