Life-saving Drone Wins 2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition

22 October 2015

This year’s overall winner at the annual European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is a remote-controlled multi-copter drone capable of supporting maritime search-and-rescue operations.

On October 20th, the global satellite navigation community gathered in BerlinEnrique Martínez Asensi and his winning team hope to soon see POSEIDRON saving lives far out at sea. to recognise the year's most brilliant innovations in commercial applications of satellite technology. The POSEIDRON project won over the international jury of experts with its remote-controlled multi-copter that supports maritime search-and-rescue operations. The Spanish start-up took home the grand prize ahead of the 29 other regional and special prize winners in the 2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC).

Enrique Martínez Asensi and his winning team hope to soon see POSEIDRON saving lives far out at sea. The project is well-placed to help, for example, when fishing workers fall overboard or in locating the victims of the horrific shipwrecks that occur during illegal immigration.

        Also Read: GSA Special Prize Goes to the KYNEO Project

The robust drone vehicle was custom-developed by Sincratech Aeronautics based in Valencia and can be launched from ships or platforms under virtually any weather conditions. The multi-copter uses thermal cameras and EGNOS to quickly locate people in the water and transmit an alarm to rescue teams that includes vital precise location information.

The drone is capable of lifting a 70 kg payload, which means it can carry an inflatable life raft that can be deployed as soon as victims are found. This makes POSEIDRON both faster and more cost-effective than other rescue systems, which in turn significantly increases the chances of survival for victims – particularly in colder waters.

Grand Prize

In addition to winning the ESNC's € 20,000 grand prize, this innovative project will now have the chance to enter a 12-month incubation programme at one of five Science Parks in Valencia as part of the region's prize.

The ESNC set another new participation record this year, with 515 innovations entered by companies from more than 40 different countries around the world. The 2015 competition more than matched the successes of previous editions and increased its cumulative figures to 272 winners awarded, selected from 3,343 ideas received from over 10,000 participants throughout its 12 years in existence.

"Time synchronisation and reliable positioning information are essential to today's digital economy. Without corresponding satellite-based services, the development of these and other innovations - including the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communication, and Industry 4.0 - would not be possible," explains Thorsten Rudolph, ESNC organiser andCEO of Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen. Carlos des Dorides, Executive Director of the GSA, added: “The POSEIDRON project shows the huge potential for Galileo and EGNOS enabled applications in Search and Rescue operations. Using drones in combination with highly accurate European GNSS can get help to people in danger more quickly, effectively and efficiently while reducing the risk to first responders.”

Under the patronage of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the ESNC presented prizes valued at approximately EUR one million in total at its annual Awards Ceremony. An overview of all of this year’s winners can be found here.

This annual event recognises the most outstanding applications for Copernicus and European GNSS (Galileo and EGNOS) in various categories. Since 2014, the awards ceremony has been associated with the Satellite Masters Conference, which takes place from 20-22 October 2015.

The conference features plenary sessions, workshops, and roundtable discussions centred around leveraging satellite-derived data and other space solutions for business and society. It is a unique marketplace for sharing ideas on space-based innovation and connecting with the world's leading network for downstream satellite business.

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Updated: Aug 09, 2016