Satellite navigation key to interactive road transport applications

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16 April 2010

EGNOS and Galileo are key to the development of intelligent road transport systems, said speakers at a workshop in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic.

Global revenues for satellite navigation equipment and services are forecast to grow to about €236 billion a year by 2025, of which 20% will be from the road transport sector, said Philippe Hamet, a policy officer with the unit responsible for Satellite Navigation Applications at the European Commission.

Philippe Hamet, a policy officer with the unit responsible for Satellite Navigation Applications at the European Commission, spoke at the workshop. © Ahmed ElAminPhilippe Hamet, a policy officer with the unit responsible for Satellite Navigation Applications at the European Commission, spoke at the workshop. © Ahmed ElAmin

“Intelligent transport systems (ITS) in the road sector are one of the main market segments for global navigation satellite systems,” Hamet told participants. “EGNOS and Galileo provide new real-time services to people on the move.”

Europe's Galileo and EGNOS satellite navigation systems and the requirements of the road transport sector were the focus of the international workshop, held as part of the Galileo Users Forum (GUF) series of events at the Škoda Auto University in Mladá Boleslav.

EGNOS, a satellite-based augmentation system, is currently in operation. Galileo, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), is scheduled to become operational in 2014. Both systems will provide an unprecedented level of accuracy and signal integrity.

The Commission is implementing pan-European ITS solutions as a means of developing sustainable road transport operations, Hamet said. New ITS, road and logistics action plans support the policy. GNSS can contribute a lot to their success.

GNSS road map

The Commission is currently implementing an action plan for GNSS applications. The plan aims at developing new applications for Galileo, supporting the EU’s downstream industry and promoting Galileo-enabled chipsets for the mass market.

The main tools of the action plan is funding for research through the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), financial support for small and medium-sized companies and the inclusion of GNSS as an option in some pan-European regulations.

The legislative actions include a directive on the interoperability of the EU’s electronic toll systems, and possibly  new regulations on the tracking of dangerous goods and coaches, on electronic vehicle identification and for advanced driver assistant systems, he said.

Concrete actions are being taken on some of the policy areas. The Commission is due to launch a call for tenders to conduct ITS trials using EGNOS. The trials will examine the benefits of using EGNOS for road pricing and logistics.

Another call for tenders about the ways of certifying EGNOS for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will be launched in 2011. The winner of the tender will propose ways to create a legitimate certification body for the use of EGNOS in ADAS.

In addition, a third FP7 call for project proposals relating to the EGNOS and Galileo programmes will be launched around October 2010. About €38 million will be available for winning projects. The call will focus mainly on research on support to SMEs, with the road sector as one of the main domains of application.

Hamet emphasised that national governments should also  promote the Galileo and EGNOS applications market.

“Member States should become clients of their own product,” he said.

Robust positioning units

Next, Francisco Ferreira, an officer with the unit responsible for ICT for Transport at the European Commission, described a few FP6 and FP7 projects involved in researching the use of GNSS in the road sector.

The CVIS, Safespot, and Coopers projects are investigating robust positioning for various road safety applications. All three projects follow a hybrid approach, integrating GNSS with on board systems and road infrastructure to develop new positioning technologies.

Significant progress is being made by establishing good communications and co-operation among these projects and others, Ferreira said. For example, COOPERS has developed a robust positioning unit using GPS augmented by EGNOS for higher accuracy.

The project’s concept car contains additional sensors (L1-L2-GPS, a three-axis inertial navigation unit and a high resolution odometer) so as to simulate a high quality reference trajectory comparable to using Galileo.

Using a new methodology to integrate simulated Galileo signals into real life tests, the approach has been proven through road tests in Berlin, Innsbruck, Trento and Frankfurt.

Meanwhile, POMA, a CVIS sub-project, has developed sensor data fusion and map-matching techniques that can position vehicles within specific road lanes.

With the co-operative technologies developed by POMA, it was possible to create much higher accuracy than with ordinary GPS.

“In Stockholm, CVIS demonstrated lane level accuracy,” Ferreira said in referring to live demonstrations of the technology. “The CVIS cars were matched to the lane they were driving in.”

The demonstration will be shown again at the Intertraffic conference on 23-26 March in Amsterdam. Live demonstrations by all three projects will also be conducted during the Co-operative Mobility Showcase ‘Connecting Smart Vehicles with Intelligent Infrastructure’, 23-26 March in Amsterdam.

Making Europe’s road network safer

Stefan Gustafsson, a Feasibility Study Manager at the European Space Agency (ESA), outlined the organisation’s work on promoting satellite navigation applications for the safer transport of dangerous goods.

 “There is a need for services that support the transport sector in preventing and reacting to accidents related to dangerous goods,” he said. “Space can provide solutions in many areas – navigation, communication and Earth observation.”

In particular, the EGNOS and Galileo programmes can be used to accurately locate vehicles, for geo-fencing areas affected by the release of hazardous substances, and for fleet management.

“For services related to transport of dangerous goods, a European approach is needed,” he said.

Harry Evers of ITS Niedersachsen described the results of the FAMOS project, which investigated the use of GPS, EGNOS and Galileo for safety critical ADAS and location-based mobility services.

The project’s partners set out to develop innovative concepts for the intelligent fusion of existing and future sensors with Galileo. The project has developed a GPS/Galileo 2-frequency-receiver for safety and other relevant applications, along with special integrity and position, velocity and time algorithms.

“FAMOS demonstrates the advantages and benefits of Galileo for innovative safety-relevant driver assistance applications,” Evers said.

Jaroslav Machan of Škoda’s research and development unit described how the Czech automaker was developing various features and sensors based on satellite navigation. One function is a directional headlight control. At curves or at intersections, the headlights will either follow the sweep of the road or provide further illumination of pedestrian crosswalks.

Škoda is also investigating an automatic gear shift system that will respond to curves or other features in the road much more efficiently than a normal driver would, he said.

“Knowledge of the route results in lower number of gear shifting,” he said of the Navi Shift system. “Power losses due to gear shifting will not happen resulting in decreasing CO2 emissions and other economic benefits.”

The GUF workshop was hosted by the Czech Ministry of Transport, in co-operation with the City of Prague, Škoda Auto, the General Auto-Moto-Club Czech Republic, and the Czech and Slovak Intelligent Transport Systems & Services Association.

The EGNOS Open Service was officially launched by the Commission on 1 October 2009. The free signal augments GPS by improving accuracy to within two metres. Further precision will be achieved when Europe launches Galileo, a global navigation satellite system.

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More information:

EGNOS Portal: Road

Updated: Sep 01, 2014