October 19, 2011 — In the course of the eighth European Satellite Navigation Competition, also known as Galileo Masters, eight special prizes were awarded by partners from industry and research along with 23 regional prizes. This year, the prototyping prize was looking for the best application reflecting the concept of the “connected vehicle” for the first time.
Eight special prizes in different categories were presented for the best business ideas based on GNSS.
- Gian Gherardo Calini, Head of Market Development at the European GNSS Agency (GSA), awarded the prize for the most promising application for EGNOS, the European augmentation system for GPS. The winning project will broaden horizons in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (mini-UAVs) in controlled air space. It is based on an innovative positioning module with a GPS/EGNOS receiver, which is able to locate other aircraft and automatically avoid collisions. At the same time, the UVA can be continually identified and monitored by traffic authorities. The project, initiated by Jordi Santucuana of the Spanish company CATUAV, has also been chosen as the winner of the new region Catalonia.
- The €10,000 Innovation Prize of the European Space Agency (ESA) went to Timo Friesland and his team from Germany for the project twofloats. This GNSS-based innovation is an efficient and scalable software-as-a-service for detecting proximity amongst large numbers of moving objects. Based on positioning, users – of social networks, for example – are notified whenever they approach each other, even if no predefined connections exist between them. The prize was awarded by Frank Salzgeber, Head of the Technology Transfer Programme Office of the European Space Agency (ESA).
- Dr Rolf-Dieter Fischer, Head of Technology Marketing at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), presented the DLR Prize to the novel GNSS signal authentication method SARA, which is based on using available GNSS signal information on a best-effort basis. The innovative technique, developed by Dr Antonio Pujante Cuadrupani from the Spanish company Panamnav, is applicable to all kinds of GNSS receivers in order to detect fake signals intended to induce a JMS (jamming/meaconing/spoofing) event. SARA focuses on the professional market, where signal authentication and safety are a major requirement.
- The General Manager of the TÜV SÜD subsidiary NavCert, Martin Grzebellus, and Dr Günter Heinrichs, Head of Business Development at IFEN, awarded the GATE Prize, which includes the possibility to test the winning application at the German Galileo Test and Development Environment (GATE) for a period of three days. This year’s winner was Dr Antonio Pujante Cuadrupani (who also won the DLR special topic prize) with TIMEWISE, an elegant and effective method and technology for authenticating time references obtained from GNSS systems. TIMEWISE provides protection to critical infrastructures and key economic sectors that now rely on GNSS receivers to synchronise their networks, such as in telecommunications or energy distribution.
- For the second time, the GNSS Living Lab Prize was awarded by Thorsten Rudolph, Managing Director of Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), to the best GNSS-related product or service ready to be tested – and ideally, implemented – at one of nearly 300 Living Labs in Europe and around the world. Che-Tsung Lin of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan has developed Geo-Coupon, an on-demand smartphone app based on GNSS. It provides purpose-driven digital coupons according to predetermined rules, such as whether the user has visited branch stores within a limited timeframe. The €10,000 prize is supported by the European Union as part of the FP7 project GAINS.
- The University Challenge Prize for the most creative location-based services was presented by Dr Bernd Eisfeller of the Universität der Bundeswehr (Munich) to Jan Schindler and Matthias Wuest of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) for their idea to enhance the mobility of visually impaired people. The proposed idea is a digital white cane that incorporates a navigation device – or connects to a smartphone – as well as audio information that can guide the visually impaired safely to their desired destination. The device is based on precise Galileo navigation coordinates and capable of warning the user about highways and other hazardous areas.
- Hsu-Kai Tsai, Deputy Manager of the Information & Communication Research Laboratories of the Industrial Technology Research Institute ( ITRI, Taiwan), presented the Prototyping Prize – a first in this year’s competition. Fabian de Ponte-Müller of DLR Oberpfaffenhofen won the prize for his prototype development in the domain of “connected vehicles”. His solution is a novel safety application that enables a vehicle to locally circumnavigate potholes and other road damage detected by other vehicles. Through special on-board sensors, a vehicle can detect this type of hazard and communicate with other road participants by means of vehicle-to-vehicle communication. The €10,000 prize also includes an invitation for eight finalists to Taiwan to personally demonstrate their application in the ITRI test environment.
In addition to the special topic prizes, 23 winners were selected by the expert panels of the ESCN partner regions. The prizes were awarded in six thematic areas:
Phillip Elbert’s team from ETH Zürich and HESS AG (Switzerland) managed to win over the Swiss jury with AHEAD, a solution that aims to minimise CO2 emissions of hybrid-electric buses used in public transport based on a predictive energy management strategy. Public buses typically follow a predefined route. Therefore, relevant data on the road profile can easily be recorded. Based on the road data and exact positioning of the bus, energy management can be adapted in advance to the bus route. The Swiss team’s new predictive strategy helps cut the CO2 emissions of hybrid-electric buses by 5-15%, and by as much as 25-30% in comparison to diesel buses.
Dr Jörg Pfister of pwp-systems GmbH was named the winner of the Hesse region and – together with the Czech regional winner – the joint third-place finisher in the overall running for PTbox. PTbox is a robust positioning unit that aims to make public transport more attractive while reducing CO2 emissions. The application is designed to improve the full range of public transport operations and provide real-time synchronisation of schedules.
Ali Alaswad and Nusaif Ali from the Bahrain company iCOL Plus were selected as the winners from the Arab Middle East & North Africa region for iTrack21 Dispatcher. This touchscreen device for the advanced iTrack21, a tracking system for online-based fleet management, enables cost-efficient communication with vehicle drivers and can be used simultaneously as a navigation system.
Andreas Sisask and his team from the service company Logica were chosen as the first winners from the new partner country Estonia. RENEV is a smartphone app that enables electric vehicle users to reach destinations outside their battery range as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. The idea aims to achieve greater public acceptance in support of the transition process from combustion-engine to electric vehicles.
Frank Tsai from the Taiwanese Institute for Information Industry won Taiwan’s prize for a smartphone app that facilitates local taxi dispatch management without the need for a centralised call centre. On basis of positioning data, only taxis nearby will respond to a passenger’s service request. The app thus reduces fuel consumption and eliminates the usual communication costs among passengers, call centres, and taxi drivers.
Mobile Location-Based Services
The Australian jury awarded Venkatraman Ramkumar for his idea for the technology-enabled golfing equipment NavRange. The application consists of a smartphone app and the NavBall, which is a golf ball with a built-in GNSS sensor and further sensors that gather all of the relevant information as the ball travels during play. This information can be downloaded and combined with visual animations of the golf course and ball trajectory to show the user how the ball was hit in near real-time. The data can also be used for personal training education and improvement, as well as for media coverage of golf tournaments.
The Polish students Michal Wojtysiak and Maciej Piotrowski took home
Bavaria’s regional prize for YETI (Your Entertainment & Tracking Interface), a smartphone app with various location-based functions for winter sports. In addition to enhancing safety on the slopes, for example, the app provides skiers with value-added information, such as weather forecasts or where the shortest lift queues are. Furthermore, local rescue teams or nearby skiers can be notified instantly in case of an accident.