ENI decides to adopt EGNOS thanks to MENTORE project

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09 February 2010

Following a successful test, ENI is in the process of installing EGNOS on all 1,500 trucks in its domestic fleet and about 400 trucks based outside of Italy. In fact EGNOS has demonstrated its ability to improve the precision and the quality of position data and to enable new applications.

The ENI Group and Interporto Bologna, both based in Italy, were part of the MENTORE project, which developed the technologies, service platforms and market scenarios for EGNOS- and Galileo-based tracking and tracing services. The project received funding through the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6).

A van transporting dangerous goods – in this case nuclear materials – was tracked using EGNOS. © Mentore projectA van transporting dangerous goods – in this case nuclear materials – was tracked using EGNOS. © Mentore project

The two companies are part of a wave of early adopters of EGNOS for transport logistics. It is one of the market segments targeted by the European Commission as a major sector where EGNOS has potential to improve efficiency and help companies meet regulatory requirements.

For example, European regulations require precise and reliable information on the location of dangerous or sensitive materials and goods. Satellite navigation is a key tool to meet such tracking and tracing requirements, while allowing companies to monitor both material assets and people.

EGNOS is a satellite-based augmentation system that corrects the GPS signal and improves location accuracy to within two metres. In addition to improved navigational accuracy, EGNOS also delivers integrity information, providing users with data on the degree of trust they can place in the location signal. The system warns the user when the signal should not be used for navigation.

MENTORE demonstrated five pilot services in areas where EGNOS and Galileo can make the biggest impact – the tracking and tracing of nuclear materials, livestock, dependent persons, multimodal freight, and city deliveries.

MENTORE project coordinator Antonella Di Fazio of Italy's Telespazio said: “Introducing EGNOS in a best practices framework is the best way to ensure its wider adoption at the national and EU levels.”

More efficient fuel delivery

For example, in the freight sector ENI tested EGNOS as a means of tracking the company’s oil and gas delivery trucks. ENI is a multinational oil and gas company and Italy's largest industrial group by market capitalisation. The company’s 2,000 trucks deliver gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas, mainly in Italy.

Domenico Pizzorni, an executive at ENI’s secondary logistics transport unit in Genoa, said that the use of EGNOS was part of a larger programme to equip the company’s delivery vehicles with monitoring devices.

The system communicates with ENI’s central fleet management unit, allowing the company to know when and where a delivery was made and how much oil or gas was unloaded, for example. Other sensors provide safety measurements such as the temperature and pressure of the oil or gas.

Data from vehicles is also forwarded to Italy’s transport ministry, a partner in the project, allowing it to perform statistical analysis and traffic monitoring in support of safer roads.

ENI also tested the EGNOS Data Access System (EDAS), which distributes raw data directly from the EGNOS system in real-time, within guaranteed delay, security and performance standards. The EGNOS data allows ENI to track the test trucks more precisely and reliably along delivery routes, from bay to bay.

“EGNOS improved the precision and the quality of data we received from each truck,” Pizzorni says. “For example we were able to get a truck’s exact and guaranteed position for loading, what bay it was loading from in the depot. We were not able to get this information when we only used GPS as the GPS error is larger than the distance from bay to bay.”

Following the successful test, the company is in the process of installing EGNOS on all 1,500 trucks in its domestic fleet and about 400 trucks based outside of Italy. So far ENI has outfitted about 300 vehicles in Italy with the EGNOS technology. In July this year the company outfitted its fleet in the Czech Republic with the system, with Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary to follow.

Pizzorni notes that the €50 cost of adding an EGNOS-enabled receiver to a truck’s sensor technology was “very, very low” when compared to the overall €10,000 price tag for the whole sensor system and the benefits it brings.

Telespazio is now attempting to promote the system developed by ENI as a standard for European freight transport.

Testing EGNOS for city logistics

Meanwhile Interporto Bologna, another project partner, tested EGNOS for city logistics, showing how improved precision can help in the delivery of goods in dense urban areas. The company delivers goods from ports and rail depots to the city’s centre.

Angelo Aulicino, who is responsible for the company’s department for new projects and development, said Interporto Bologna tested EGNOS as a means of offering a tracking and tracing service to its customers. The company achieved up to 30% improvement accuracy in tracking its vans compared to just using GPS. From testing on one van, the company has now decided to use an EGNOS-enabled receiver on 30 delivery vans in the city.

“The cost benefits of the improved accuracy is significant,” Aulicino says. “We need this kind of accuracy for the very narrow streets in central Bologna. We can now know where a van is positioned in a congested area. This helps with routing them more efficiently.”

Tracking nuclear material for increased safety

Perhaps the most visible demonstration conducted by the project occurred during the ITS World Congress held in Stockholm from 21 to 25 September 2009. The Congress’ delegates saw two live demonstrations of EGNOS tracking and tracing services.

During one demonstration, delegates saw the live tracking of two vehicles transporting nuclear material in Italy while equipped with a EGNOS-GPRS satellite communication on-board unit developed by MENTORE. For the second demonstration, a van equipped with the MENTORE on-board unit was tracked while circulating for freight distribution in Stockholm.

The demonstrations made use of EDAS. The EDAS data was processed at Telespazio’s service platform in Rome and sent to a screen at a project partner’s booth at the Congress.

“The results demonstrated once more that the MENTORE solution, using EGNOS’ commercial service, provides position guarantee and enhanced availability,” says project coordinator Di Fazio.

The project officially completed its work on September 2009 and ended with the two demonstrations in Stockholm. Overall, the project partners identified and implemented actions that targeted regulated markets for which satellite navigation technologies are a tool to monitor and control transported goods or people for safety, efficiency and traceability, she adds.

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Updated: Sep 02, 2014