To prepare the next EGNOS Maritime Safety Service, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) in collaboration with the European Commission seek general feedback from users and, specifically, insight on the experiences of the maritime community.
For several years, the maritime community has been using EGNOS without standardised EGNOS receivers or a dedicated EGNOS maritime safety service. Instead, maritime users have used the EGNOS Open Service. Although the Open Service provides timing and positioning services, it lacks specific receiver certification and, consequently, does not come with specific guarantees for use in safety-critical maritime applications.
That being said, EGNOS has the potential to provide positioning performance better tailored to the unique needs of the maritime community. This potential will be reached once the new version of EGNOS (EGNOS V3) is operational and able to augment Galileo, thereby providing higher accuracy and higher availability than what EGNOS can currently deliver.
In preparation for this, at the beginning of 2017, the European Commission launched the SEASOLAS project to study what such an EGNOS Maritime Safety Service should provide, based on new shipborne receivers that utilise EGNOS Dual Frequency GPS/Galileo capability. The SEASOLAS service can be tailored to a new integrity information concept at the user level based on the requirements of the maritime community. The project is consulting with maritime users to determine what new concepts of operation require safe and guaranteed navigation performance at the user level (with a special focus on port operations and navigation in inland waterways). This will determine which EGNOS information is required to enable these operations to utilise SBAS.
SEASOLAS is fully financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation and within the allocated budget for the evolution of the EGNOS mission. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG-GROW) has appointed GMV, supported by Valdani Vicari & Associati, Kongsberg Seatex, European Satellite Services Provider, and General Lighthouse Authority for the UK and Ireland, to perform the study. The GSA is providing technical supervision on behalf of the European Commission.
The SEASOLAS project will last 18 months. The results of the study, available by mid-2018, will directly feed discussions on the evolution of the EGNOS mission.
The main interrelated steps of the study are:
- Analysis of the Maritime Domain: This task aims to answer a set of crucial questions, including:
- What is the maritime operational context in which the EGNOS maritime safety service will be provided?
- What are the key drivers for the introduction of the EGNOS maritime safety services?
- What are the environmental conditions under which the EGNOS receiver installed on-board a vessel will operate?
- What is the concept of integrity that users need for the most-demanding types of maritime operations?
- GNSS Technical Analysis: This task evaluates which combination of technologies is best suited to complement SBAS within a multi-system shipborne radio-navigation receiver in order to meet users’ maritime safety needs.
- GNSS Requirements Definition: The requirements for EGNOS will be derived by apportioning user requirements between EGNOS and the other radio navigation technologies as defined in the previous step.
- Definition of the Service Roadmap: The cost benefit analyses that will influence the decision-making process of each stakeholder (i.e. device manufacturers, service providers, maritime authorities and users) will be assessed, and a roadmap for system and service validation and for standardisation of the EGNOS safety maritime service will be developed.
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