GSA presents EGNSS opportunities in aviation, hosts EGNOS awards
GSA Operational Market Development Manager, Carmen Aguilera opened the workshop by presenting EGNOS and Galileo services and new demand in aviation, as well as upcoming R&D calls and funding opportunities. “EGNOS is providing services in all EU countries, and with new demands for both EGNOS and Galileo services, both are evolving to meet modern aviation needs, including unmanned vehicles” Aguilera said.
Galileo improving search and rescue
The GSA is at the forefront of the development of these services with the funding it provides for users interested in developing solutions that utilise EGNOS and Galileo. “We are opening a new Space EGNSS 2020 call within Horizon 2020, that covers aviation and that will provide 70% of funding to develop applications for aviation that use EGNOS or Galileo” Aguilera said.
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Advances in aviation are mostly driven by safety and the need for improved performance. During the session Christian Belleux, General Manager at Orolia explained the benefits of Galileo positioning and Galileo Search and Rescue service use for aircraft distress tracking, with focus on commercial flights. “Distress tracking mandates now require in-flight detection, not only once the plane has crashed,” said Belleux, explaining that newly improved Galileo-enabled distress beacons automatically send messages every five seconds based on flight diagnostics. This is essential for early rescue. Belleux also highlighted the benefits of activating remotely beacons from the ground, not just automatically during flight. Orolia is working with GSA and Eurocae to define operational concept for remote beacon activation, that could be enabled by Galileo services.
EGNOS and Galileo in drones
Drones offer significant opportunities for EGNSS in aviation, due to the growing demand for more accuracy, precision and manoeuvrability. “Drones operations require accuracy, availability and robust operations,” said Carmen Aguilera, and EGNOS/Galileo improve such operations, especially in urban areas and in operations Beyond Line of Sight. Increased drone operations mean a need for more and better measurements from different sensors and navigation integrity, which according to Pere Molina from Geonumerics, is “currently an underexploited EGNOS feature.” Molina went on to add that “drones cannot afford [integrity] errors and EGNOS is designed to cope with them. Galileo and GPS based integrity monitoring in the receiver also answer this need”.
Closing the session, Hugo Luengo from ESSP-SAS, spoke of the “need to improve accessibility to smaller aerodromes for General Aviation. GSA, ESSP and EASA are working together to facilitate design of instrument flight procedures, with focus on approach, to non instrument runways or aerodromes with limited air traffic control”. This is also a priority of the EASA General Aviation roadmap.
The workshop was followed by the EGNOS Awards which primarily recognised the signing of three EGNOS working agreements - by Islandic air navigation service provider ISAVIA, ORO NAVIGACIJA from Lithuania, and the Serbian and Montenegrin air traffic services provider SMATSA. In addition, the Spanish Civil Aviation Authority AESA was recognised with a special award, for pioneering effort making a reality the use of EGNOS and Galileo in drones. In particular, AESA recognises EGNOS as suitable means to ensure safety of drones’ navigation in demanding.