The European GNSS Agency (GSA) highlights the many benefits of EGNOS to the road, rail, agriculture and surveying sectors during the annual EGNOS Service Provision Workshop, held 29 – 30 September in Copenhagen.
EGNOS may have been built for aviation, but it isn’t meant to be limited by it. A clear message coming out of last week’s EGNOS Service Provision Workshop in Copenhagen is that EGNOS’ benefits extend well beyond the aviation and maritime sectors – benefiting everything from road transportation to rail, agriculture, surveying and mapping.
EGNOS Increases Accuracy
As to the road sector, according to GSA Market Development Officer Carmen Aguilera, “There is a growing interest in optimising the use of roads in Europe, and it is proven that EGNOS can help this by increasing accuracy.”
Aguilera noted that across Europe there is increasing pressure for emergency location sharing. Simultaneously, she also said that navigation devices in smartphones have permeated the market, creating a case for EGNOS in road applications. For example, the eCall system, which will be implemented in all cars in Europe from April 2018, will send an emergency call to 112 in the case of an accident, including precise location, which will help provide faster assistance.
In another example, GNSS can support toll operators in charging levies in compliance with the European Electronic Tolling System Directive. Speaking on Slovakia’s SkyToll system, which earned 43.38 million Euros for the National Motorway Company in Q1 of 2015, GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini said it was an example of the multi-beneficial approach of EGNOS and Galileo. “We have achieved a lot of results, and now it is the time of the user,” he said. “We have to make sure they are satisfied and the system will constantly improve.”
Opportunities in Rail
Turning to rail applications, Aguilera said the sector was a difficult environment for EGNOS because of electromagnetic and visibility interference. Still, there are opportunities. Francesco Rispoli of Ansaldo STS presented his company’s ERSAT project, which focuses on adding European GNSS to ERTMS, the most commonly used and safest signal operating system in the world. “I am strongly convinced there is an important synergy between ERTMS and EGNOS and Galileo, and this synergy should help contribute to make us be more competitive in the market,” he said. “What ERSAT is targeting is to reduce the gap between the two, create a common platform for the benefit of all, and accelerate the process of introducing GNSS in real operations.”
From Farm to the Field
Aside from rail and road, EGNOS plays a large role in agriculture, surveying, and mapping. Aguilera said both farmers and public authorities can benefit from agriculture applications such as machine guidance, automatic steering, variable rate technology, asset management, harvest monitoring, and environmental management. For surveying and mapping applications, an array of users can benefit, including public and private surveyors, construction companies, marine operators, and municipalities.
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