The EU's Galileo and EGNOS programmes are crucial for the development of Europe’s satellite navigation industry and new services for citizens, speakers said at the opening of Galileo Application Days in Brussels on 3 March.
The three day event, hosted by the European Commission, promotes the use of EGNOS and Galileo as well as kicking off this year's European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). In opening the event Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said the EU continues to invest in satellite navigation as it benefits citizens across Europe.
He highlighted some of the 30 cutting-edge satellite navigation applications being demonstrated in the event's Application Village outside the Berlaymont Building, the Commission’s headquarters. EGNOS, which became operational in October 2010, and in the future Galileo, will spur innovation in Europe.
“These new tools will bring a multitude of social, environmental, safety and economic benefits to citizens,” he told the over 900 registered participants. “These breakthrough applications will also deliver downstream market revenues. Our space research delivers innovative applications that our industry so urgently needs, especially SMEs to produce new products and find a way out of the current crisis.”
These applications include those to locate a sailor who has fallen overboard at sea, assist visually impaired persons, find vulnerable people who become lost, support emergency aid and make outdoor and sport activities safer.
“This event is a platform for exchanges of views amongst the stakeholders and to show the benefits to the public,” said Tajani.
Parliament behind satellite navigation programmes
Norbert Glante, Member of European Parliament, and a member of the Galileo Interinstitutional Panel, emphasised the support the EU's elected representatives have for the EGNOS and Galileo programmes.
“Parliament is very convinced of the value of Galileo,” he said. “Our task now is to convince the public.”
Speaking on behalf of the current Spanish Presidency of the EU, Alvaro Herrero Porteros said the European Council was also fully committed to Galileo, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and EGNOS, an augmentation system.
He called for a study on how the private and public sector could exploit Galileo. He also called for the development of an action plan detailing steps to maximise the use of EGNOS and Galileo and to address regulatory issues related to the use of satellite navigation in several domains.
Application Action Plan
Georgette Lalis, Director of consumer goods and EU satellite navigation programmes in the Commission's Directorate Generalof Enterprises and Industry, said the Commission would release an application action plan in a “few weeks”. The action plan was inline with the economic development priorities set out in the Europe 2020 strategy, which was announced on 3 March.
“The reality is that, as of today, Europe has not taken an appropriate share of the GNSS application market,” Lalis said.
While economic development of Europe's satellite navigation market was important, the EU was also creating the infrastructure as a means of ensuring Europe’s independence in the area of satellite navigation. Independence becomes more important as more sectors start to incorporate the use of satellite navigation into their operations. EGNOS, and in the future, Galileo, will lead to critical dependencies.
“This is true not only in the operation of transport, energy, communication and banking networks, but also as regards to the security and the safety of the European citizen, disaster management an demergency-related public services,” she said. “More broadly speaking, the size of economic activities that rely on GNSS is estimated to amount to 6% to 7% of the whole GDP of the European Union – that is about €800 billion. And this is a conservative estimate.”
She noted the low investment in satellite navigation research and development in Europe compared to other countries was holding back technological advances and the growth of industrial capacity. Public authorities could support market growth by coordinating the certification and standardisation of activities undertaken by Member States and by local authorities, through information dissemination and exchange, and by providing more funds for research.
The Commission is also undertaking or considering a number of actions to help stimulate market growth. These include:
- An EGNOS web-portal for professional developers.
- Awareness campaigns through SME clusters.
- A comparative analysis of positioning technologies used in creating maps in a broad variety of domains and the engagement of national organisations such as geographical national institutes.
- The creation of a European radio navigation plan for the transport sector.
- The mobilisation of funds to support research in the receiver and applications user segment of the market for Galileo and EGNOS.
- The targeting of specific sectors – air and road transport, the tracking of goods, and agriculture – as areas for development.
In addition, the Commission and the African Union are assessing the possibility of extending EGNOS coverage to Africa,where substantial benefits have been identified in air and rail transport,emergency aid, and the increase in accessibility to remote regions.
Stamp of approval
Before the opening address, industry experts in a roundtable presentation gave their stamp of approval to the EGNOS and Galileo programmes. Filippos Sesia, director of product research at Fiat, said the European programmes were essential to getting location down to the lane level in urban areas.
Ted Chang, vice president of QuantaComputer's research institute, said cloud computing – where data will reside on common servers on the Internet rather than on devices – would allow more services to be available to users. The company was working to enable location services in laptops.
Kanwar Chadha, Chief Marketing Officer for CSR and a founder of SiRF, said the market was developing around pervasive location services. Such services need multiple satellite navigation systems, multiple signal reception and multiple sensors.
“Ten years from now I would be surprised is there is any mobile device that is not location aware,” he said.
Ralf Nejedl, Chief Executive Officer of T-Systems, said GPS has now become standard technology and the challenge now is to add more accuracy and more integrity as offered by EGNOS and Galileo.
“It will be exciting to see what we can dowith that,” he said.
Peter Beaumont, European Marketing Director for Navteq, said greater precision and details were being developed for the company's mapping services.
Application providers want dynamic content and maps with higher accuracy, features that are necessary for integrating location with car control features.
Serge Lebourg, Department Head of Falcon Avionics, said EGNOS and Galileo had great implications for the business jet and helicopter market. Customers were looking for more safety and the ability to land at smaller airports. Landing procedures based on EGNOS would allow the company to provide its customers with the ability to expand their reach to regional airports.
“EGNOS is justified by this,” he said. “Itis very important for Europe.”
In an interview, he said Falcon was integrating into its new cockpit satellite-based augmentation systems for use with the USA's WAAS and Europe's EGNOS. The new cockpit system is undergoing certification and is due to be installed first in the company's Falcon 7X business jet, and later the Falcon 900 and Falcon 2000 models.
The company is testing a retrofitted Falcon 2000 with EGNOS as part of Giant2, a project co-funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Galileo Application Days was organised by the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA) and the Application Centre for Satellite Navigation in Oberpfaffenhofen, and was sponsored by the European Space Agency's Technology Transfer Programme.
The three-day event was held to support developers of applications based on EGNOS or Galileo system by providing a platform for information sharing and creating networking opportunities.
The European Geostationary NavigationOverlay Service (EGNOS), Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation, improves the accuracy of the open public service offered by the USA’s Global Positioning System (GPS). EDAS disseminates EGNOS data in real time without relying on the signals from the three EGNOS’ satellites. EDAS is the singlepoint of access for the data collected and generated by the EGNOS infrastructure.
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