A ground-breaking Galileo receiver took home the grand prize in this year's European Satellite Navigation Competition, while the ESA Innovation Prize went to a tracker for items such as trailers, containers and bikes.
Over the past decade, the competition – also known as the Galileo Masters – has encouraged numerous new satnav applications.
This year’s was shaped by Europe’s upcoming Galileo system, with over 40% of the 434 submissions from more than 40 countries seeking to exploit Galileo and the complementary European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System in their products and services.
The winners this year of the €20 000 main prize, Drs Wolfgang Kogler and Jan Wendel from Airbus Defence & Space, focused on Galileo’s unique Public Regulated Service, or PRS, proposing a new and cost-effective receiver.
Their receiver enables police departments, fire brigades, emergency medical services and other public entities to make easy use of Galileo’s more accurate PRS navigation signal.
ESA’s €10 000 Innovation Prize went to Kristoff Van Rattinghe and his team from the Belgium company sensolus for their ‘Just stickNtrack’, which opens up a wide range of new business opportunities in tracking trailers, containers, machinery, tools, bikes and the like.
With its ultra-low power consumption, Just stickNtrack works for up to 10 years without the need for charging batteries, managing SIM cards or any intrusive installations. It halves the lifecycle cost compared to current compact GPS products.
“The competition is an important instrument to spur entrepreneurs and inventors to come up with new ideas for our Galileo satellite navigation system,” said Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme.
“Since its launch in 2004, it has fostered the creation of successful start-ups, and many of them have grown their ideas into businesses in one of our 11 ESA business incubation centres.”
Overall winner: PRS receiver
In addition to the grand prize, the design took home Bavaria’s regional prize and the Competition’s PRS prize, awarded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
“This special prize reflects our effort to further examine possibilities for the use of PRS applications,” noted Dr Tobias Miethaner, Director General of the BMVI Digital Society.
“I am delighted to see that the Competition is already providing an important impetus to the promotion and development of innovative applications of the future Galileo PRS in its first year.”
Four other special prizes from ESNC partners were also awarded at the event in the Berlin headquarters of Deutsche Telekom.
Giovanni Arturo Vecchione and team from Spain’s Deimos Space won the Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency Special Prize for a new Galileo module for smartphones. It offers pedestrians positioning precision of centimetre-level accuracy resistant to reflected signals in urban environments.
Poland’s Michal Rutkowski took home the DLR German Aerospace Center Special Prize for his design, which boosts the coverage of satellite-based navigation augmentation systems to ensure safe landings on all airport runways.
Peter Zentgraf and team from the German University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim won the University Challenge Prize with their Hail Navigator and Precipitation Reporting System for aircraft.
Adrian Blackwood and team from company trakkies™ Research BV, alumni from ESA’s Business Incubator Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, won the Global Navigation Satellite System Living Lab Prize for their ‘Internet of Things’ platform. It tracks belongings, events, tasks, appointments and more by creating smart location reference points.
The 25 regional prize winners were also announced at the ceremony together with the parallel Earth Monitoring Competition with its nine category winners and the overall Copernicus Masters 2014 winner.
Organised by Germany’s Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen, ESA has been a partner in the competition since 2005. Earlier winners of the ESA Innovation Prize include a wearable tactile navigation system, a water pollution control system, a realtime centimetre-accurate positioning system, a proximity service to track friends and colleagues, and a museum guidance service.
Further information on all the winners is available here.