Galileo to help police and builders
A novel system to simplify the use of Galileo Public Regulated Services on drones at lower cost this week took home the grand prize in this year´s European Satellite Navigation Competition, while a smart digital proofing service for the construction industry captured the ESA space solutions prize.
Police, special forces and other governmental authorised users of the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) can exploit the SORUS application to equip their drones with a secure, reliable and spoofing-resistant positioning system.
Developed by Alexander Rügamer from Fraunhofer IIS and Jan Wendel from Airbus Defence and Space, it circumvents drawbacks of conventional PRS receivers and server-based techniques by not requiring a special security module to be added to the receivers. This saves both weight and power requirements, making it much easier to use on, for example, surveillance drones.
It stores the short sequences of PRS chips directly on the receivers, as needed for the area and duration of a given mission. These PRS chips allow the receiver to calculate at pre-defined points in time secure and reliable PRS positions.
“Our system will make the use of PRS by authorities much easier. It can become a door-opener for many safety-critical applications that cannot afford a conventional PRS receiver for size, weight or price constraints,” explained Alexander.
“Police, fire fighters and civil protection units are now starting to use drones in security-critical areas and sensitive applications, such as for search and rescue, to inspect dangerous or hard to reach areas, for crowds monitoring, for boarder control or just as flying watchdogs.
“Often, these drones are too small to carry conventional PRS receivers. Here, our system will make them much safer and harder to intercept or jam.”
At the awards ceremony this week in Estonia, Alexander and Jan were awarded the grand prize of €10 000.
The ESA prize
The special ESA space solutions prize aims at innovative ideas that can be immediately implemented and quickly nurtured into profitable start-ups at one of the ESA Business Incubation Centres or another incubator.
Guilhem Ensuque and Olivier Tosello from the start-up company Attestis were awarded €10 000 for their system to help builders avoid late objections to new constructions.
In countries such as France, Italy, Portugal, Finland and Belgium, when a building permit is granted, planning regulations require that the owner displays a notice on the property to inform neighbours, who then have a fixed time to file objections. To avoid late objections, litigation and the dismantling of current or finished works, owners need to prove they have met the display requirements before construction begins.
Attestis applies the unique Galileo time stamp, with the Galileo advantages of high precision, signal authentication and position certification, combining it with a geolocation device embedded in the notice sign.
Collecting all of the data from the device, time and location stamped, on to a web platform and making them accessible via a mobile app, Attestis has developed a system that provides better legal documentation at a much lower price, compared to traditional methods, which often involve notary services.
“We have all heard about building projects being stopped or delayed due to objections,” said Frank M. Salzgeber, head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office.
“It is great to see that the Attestis entrepreneurs has come up with a smart and easy-to-use system to help the thousands of construction companies and building owners to handle such issues better, and respecting all legal aspects, by the use of our Galileo satellite navigation system.”
European Satellite Navigation Competition
The competition annually rewards the best services, products and business ideas using satellite navigation in everyday life. Its mission is to spur the development of market-driven applications based on satnav technologies.
European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Agency (GSA) Executive Director Carlo des Dorides said, “ESNC has once again proven to be an effective scouting and support mechanism for new GNSS applications and GSA is proud to be a long-time partner in this useful initiative.
“The new applications inspired by this competition constantly advance the growth and use of GNSS technology.”
For 14 years, the competition has shown that satnav technologies are opening the door to myriad applications, with more than 11 500 participating developers and currently 20 global partner regions.