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.
Mark Habgood and his team were chosen as the winners from the United Kingdom & Ireland for a car accident reporting application. The application assists in the aftermath of traffic accidents by fusing digital photography and geo-positioning with access to secondary datasets to gather the required insurance documentation. Its primary purpose is to reduce stress on the unfortunate victims involved in traffic accidents and to enable quick handling by the insurance companies involved.
The regional prize of Baden-Württemberg and the second prize in the overall running went to Jens Rieder and his team from the Universität Heidenheim an der Brenz for SkyAmps, a highly efficient, fully automatic wind power plant based on two kites. The green energy solution uses GNSS positioning data to precisely measure the vertical movements and current position of one kite relative to the ground station and the second kite. The unique idea of using two kites instead of done provides for a maximum efficiency rate.
Vytautas Siozinys and Linas Markevicius from the Kaunas University of Technology won Lithuania’s prize for a new system that protects high-voltage transmission lines based on precise time synchronisation through GNSS signals. The application can identify grid faults and provides accurate localisation, thus reducing calculation error rates from 10% (using traditional methods) to less than 1%.
The first prize of the new partner region Medjimurje/Croatia was awarded to Leon Sagovac and Boran Loncaric from GDi GISDATA. The winning application is a Europe-wide cloud-based service gateway for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). The range of applicable fields includes fleet management, transportation planning, workforce tracking, sales force tracking, office time tracking, and remote video surveillance.
Yann Desportes and his team from YADES-SAT (Martinique) were selected by the experts of Aquitaine/France for their GNSS-based system A.L.I.V.E. (Agricultural Localisation in Vast Estates). The system combines a group of applications that will help managers and owners of vast agricultural or multi-activity estates to efficiently manage their green spaces and livestock. Equipped with a tablet device – which can also be used as a navigation system – farmers will be able to locate their livestock and monitor the condition of grazing land.
Safety & Security Applications
Brazil’s prize was awarded to the team of Fábio Rodrigo de Oliveira for GeoCap, a management system for automotive accidents involving hazardous cargo. A mobile application provides real-time notifications to operators and local authorities about the risk of contamination following accidents. Based on positioning and GIS data – on river basins, for example – such risks can be assessed and countermeasures instantly started if necessary.
Paul Minguez Olaondo was selected by the expert panel of Gipuzkoa/Spain for his positioning-based application for enhancing occupational safety. SWAREA (Safe Working AREA) identifies risk zones – such as in the agricultural or construction sector – based on GNSS signals. Users can see virtual danger zones on their mobile devices, locate areas of risk, and take steps to avoid them.
This year’s prize from Nice-Sophia Antipolis/France went to Pierre-Marie Sarant and his team from Guadeloupe for QuakeUp, an extensive online early-warning and crisis management system for earthquakes. The integrated smartphone and web-based application provides three main functions: a local alert function that warns people in the risk area, an emergency beacon that enables survivors in the earthquake area to send their position and condition instantly to relatives and rescue teams, and a database in which pictures, videos, and other information on the affected site such can be collected. This data is available to rescue teams and can be used to improve and coordinate rescue efforts.
Public & Social Services
Prague awarded Vladimír Vejvoda as its winner for Mobile Eplileptic Fit Detector (MEFID), a mini, mobile, and remote unit that can rapidly detect signs of an imminent epileptic attack in child patients and help save their lives. MEFID is able to recognise very early symptoms of an epileptic attack and immediately inform the respective medical centre of the type of cramp and the intensity of the seizure, as well as the exact location of the patient. The application also took third place in the overall competition.
The prize of the new partner country Latvia went to Igors Homjakovs and his team for an innovative navigation system for visually impaired people. The application focuses on two key senses that are heightened in visually impaired people – hearing and touch. On a tactile display, streets, crossroads, and other obstacles are presented as bold reliefs. The device is also supplemented by a synchronised speech function. In combination with precise GNSS data, this allows safe navigation even in previously unknown areas.
Tibor Török and Andras Kuba from Hungary won the prize of the new partner country Macedonia for a system for toddler care in rural areas. The application allows parents to share critical information on their babies with their paediatricians online. Doctors will be able to see all the information sent by the parents on a central platform, and thus be able to monitor the health of the children from a distance. Whenever it is necessary for doctors and social care workers to visit families, they can use the GPS signals of their tablet PCs to find the shortest route – even to several families in a row.
The prize for the region Øresund (Denmark & Sweden) went to Steinunn Anna Gunnlaugsdóttir and Leifur Björnsson from Iceland, whose smartphone platform combines education with gaming and outdoor activities. The SmartGuide platform enables users to design and publish travel guides, which can then be supplemented by pictures and maps to be enjoyed on-location via smartphones. An innovative application of this platform is the interactive Turf Hunt Game, a treasure hunt game that leverages elements of augmented reality and can be used, for example, in team-building activities.
The winner of the region South Holland, Peter Buist from the Technical University of Delft, was selected for his integrated sensor solutions for precise, reliable positioning in challenging environments, such as urban canyons or alleys. With traditional navigation systems, such areas are often subject to signal inaccuracy. The solution integrates GNSS with other sensors capable of registering movements. With this innovative application, the error envelope of navigation systems can be significantly reduced – even in challenging environments.
Michele Bavaro from One Talent GNSS was the winner of the Italian region Lombardy thanks to an integrated solution consisting of an interference-free GNSS receiver and a raw signal monitoring method. The system is suitable as a receiver for security-critical applications, such as at airports or on highways. Furthermore, it can be used as an interference-detecting tool for all kinds of GNSS signals.
We would like to thank all our partners for their outstanding support and are already looking forward to an exciting European Satellite Navigation Competition 2012, which will run from 1 April to 30 June at www.galileo-masters.eu
Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen
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