EGNOS enhances global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) like GPS by providing accurate and reliable data on the performance and integrity of the global navigation satellite system. This facilitates the use of satellite navigation in many areas of the economy, such as agriculture, mapping and surveying, sea navigation, transport, and – since 2011 – civilian air traffic. The GSA is encouraging the development of new and innovative GNSS applications in an effort to tap into the vast economic and social potential they hold for Europe.
“Having supported the European Satellite Navigation Competition for five years now, we’re now planning to recognise the best application that utilises the unique possibilities EGNOS offers in 2012. We believe the European Satellite Navigation Competition is the ideal platform for raising European citizens’ awareness of the benefits of Europe’s GNSS programmes – and for providing the spark that leads to new, creative ideas for applications,” explains Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director of the GSA.
The ideas submitted by past winners of the GSA prize show how diverse the potential applications of EGNOS can be:
In 2008, the British company Sci-Tech took home the EGNOS special prize with a person-over-board (POB) system which aims to exploit a recognised gap in the commercial and marine leisure markets, by combining a crew overboard alarm and a real-time tracking and retrieval system. This team was also named the ESNC’s overall winner. Sci-Tech was recently accepted into the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Harwell, where it is now receiving assistance in the further development of its GNSS-based rescue system.
Nogago, the GSA prize winner from 2009, successfully completed its own incubation programme at ESA BIC Bavaria (Oberpfaffenhofen) in April 2011. Designed specifically for pedestrians and cyclists, this team’s winning app transforms smartphones into outdoor navigation devices. It is also capable of displaying maps both on- and offline, which makes usage possible even in low-reception areas without incurring roaming fees.
In 2010, the GSA winner once again named the ESNC’s overall winner – the Galileo Master. The Austrian start-up Wikitude swept the awards with Wikitude Drive, the world’s first navigation system with augmented reality functions for smartphones. The app is now commercially available for Android devices in Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The project of last year’s winner, Jordi Santacuana from the Spanish company CATUAV, is expanding horizons in the safe use of civilian drones (mini UAVs). It is based on an innovative localisation module that includes a GPS/EGNOS receiver capable of locating other aircraft and automatically initiating evasive manoeuvres. In doing so, the system constantly transmits the position of mini UVAs to ground control. Test operations with the system are scheduled to begin in mid-2012.
Meanwhile, this year’s ESNC participants also have access to the European Commission’s new EGNOS developer toolkits at http://egnos-portal.gsa.europa.eu/developer-platform/egnos-toolkits. These allow developers to integrate ready-to-use source code directly into their mobile applications in order to take advantage of EGNOS.
Ideas for the most promising EGNOS applications can be submitted for consideration for GSA’s Special Prize in ESNC 2012 until 30 June at www.galileo-masters.eu.
About the European GNSS Agency (GSA)
The GSA is an agency of the European Union. Along with the European Commission, it is involved in numerous activities meant to aid the continent’s businesses – in particular, small and midsize high-tech companies, business incubators, and associated networks – in tapping into the market potential of EGNOS and Galileo. Marketing activities like the ESNC ensure the ability of European industry to hold its own in the global market for satellite navigation.
For more information, please visit www.gsa.europa.eu.
About the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC)
The ESNC is an international competition that recognises the best ideas in the field of satellite navigation every year. From companies and research institutes to students and other independent individuals, anyone is free to enter. The only thing that matters is your idea! Innovation proposals can be submitted at www.galileo-masters.eu from 1 April to 30 June.
The ESNC was inaugurated in three regions under the patronage of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2004. Since then, the competition has transformed into a network that embodies innovation and expertise. Supporting the ESNC this year as new regional partners are Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Ireland, North America, Poland, and Portugal. This brings the number of regions now competing for the distinction of having produced the overall winner – the Galileo Master – to more than 20.
For more information, please visit www.galileo-masters.eu.