Smart Gate, a system designed to measure time precisely during sporting activities, has been awarded first place in the GSA Special Prize at this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition. The awards were handed out at the Galileo and Copernicus Masters gala award ceremony – the ‘Space Oscars’, held on 4 December as part of 2018 European Space Week in Marseille.
The Smart Gate team, a group of sport and tech enthusiasts, combined their two passions to develop a cost-effective solution that enables skiers and snowboarders to improve their performance. Using GNSS precise timing combined with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, Smart Gate provides precise times on ski/snowboard runs, which sportspeople can use to hone their skills and techniques.
"So far, the Smart Gate solution has been built using the private funds of its founders. We have dedicated a lot of our knowledge, involvement and passion to it,” project developer Marcin Wilk said.
Wilk said that winning the GSA Special Prize would be extremely important for the project. “First of all, we will have funds to improve our prototype and secondly it will give us the attention of the media and investors. This is what we need right now. It is no exaggeration to say that winning the GSA prize will be an important turning point for the Smart Gate project," he said.
Second place in this year’s GSA prize went to Troodle – a ridesharing solution that, unlike previous systems, offers socially and ecologically motivated drivers a digital platform based on environmental awareness and social responsibility rather than earning opportunities or cost sharing.
Utilising geodata-based real-time communication, the Troodle app calculates optimal stopping points, ideal routes and average travel times as a basis for immediate and effective ridesharing. As a result, it can offer spontaneous, safe, environmentally friendly and low-cost mobility without advance agreement, for short and long distances in both cities and rural areas.
"We are very pleased about the ESNC GSA Prize. Together with the ESA-BIC funding, the financial support will enable us to develop our prototype of the Troodle app, which will be tested in two German cities at the beginning of 2019," Troodle founder Bernd Sailer said.
Finally, the third place this year goes to HIVE, a cloud-based solution for highly accurate GNSS positioning and navigation that helps position, navigate, and track drones, robots, and other autonomous GNSS-equipped machines with up to centimetre-level precision.
To improve their positioning accuracy, autonomous vehicles need to be connected to a ground-based, continuously operating reference station (CORS) that uses GNSS. HIVE’s software combines unlimited numbers of fragmented GNSS CORS facilities in a single solution and provides easy access to all of them. In this way, it acts as an instrument for creating a united European GNSS CORS infrastructure, supporting the next-generation of autonomous machines.
“Winning a GSA nomination is a significant milestone for us, as the project we have worked hard on for years is receiving international recognition. And this is just the beginning,” project founder Simon Litvinov said.
10 years of partnership
This year is the 10th consecutive year that the GSA has been a main partner in the European Satellite Navigation Competition and awarded a Special Prize. This year for the first time the GSA awarded cash prizes of EUR 7,000, EUR 5,000 and EUR 3,000 to the top three proposals. This year’s contenders for the GSA prize addressed the topic 'When and where? – Exact timing and positioning matters'.
Watch this: Galileo Masters-GSA – 10 Years of Partnership
“I would like to congratulate this year’s worthy winners of the GSA Galileo Special Prize and all the Galileo Masters prize winners,” GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides said. “During our 10 years of partnership with the competition, the GSA has awarded a Special Prize to contenders who presented the most pioneering ideas for the commercial use of Galileo and EGNOS. This year has been no different, and market uptake potential was an important criterion when evaluating the winning projects,” he said.
As part of its Special Topic Prizes over the past ten years, the GSA has received more than 80 innovative proposals per year, covering new applications across the broad scope of sectors that benefit from Galileo and EGNOS in a wide variety of areas. Over the years, the GSA Special Prize winners have helped establish the ESNC as a major driver of new, useful and economically viable GNSS applications.
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