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Time for augmented navigation everywhere

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is once again awarding a special topic prize in the European Satellite Navigation Competition. This year, DLR would like to see "Augmented Navigation – Everywhere". Hence, it is looking for ideas that use the satellite navigation augmentation system EGNOS or multi-sensor systems to improve positioning. The entrant with the best idea will receive a voucher for DLR services worth EUR 50,000 to develop it further.

Oberpfaffenhofen, 24 May 2011: Nowadays, we spent 90 per cent of our time indoors. Nevertheless, getting around isn’t always easy; at some point, everyone is likely to encounter too many signs, no signs at all, or confusing maps. The European Satellite Navigation Competition is an international innovation competition looking for ideas related to satellite navigation. However, satellite navigation is useless in buildings, as the signals do not get through. Indoor navigation is to solve this problem. The DLR Special Topic Prize is looking for innovative solutions and applications that enable seamless navigation in difficult environments – for example, by means of indoor maps, pedestrian step measurement, and navigation via mobile radio systems and signals. The potential for bright ideas is virtually limitless.

Instead of helping, too many signs often cause confusion. © DLR

Another thematic core area involves applications that use the European augmentation system EGNOS. The improvements EGNOS offers in terms of GPS signal accuracy and reliability are now fully available for the long term, free of charge. As such, DLR is calling for proposals that use safety-of-life services, combine communications and navigation systems, or distribute the correction data EGNOS transmits via networks.

The best idea will be rewarded with a for five person-months of DLR voucher services worth EUR 50,000. These services – which include feasibility studies, concept studies, prototype or business development, and other support designed to result in direct implementation – will help the winner further the idea. In this way, the DLR prize supports the overall aim of the European Satellite Navigation Competition: finding and realising as many ideas as possible for global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).

Last year, a team from the Sapienza University of Rome won the DLR Special Topic Prize with their VADASE project. Under the motto "Next-Generation Navigation", DLR was searching for the brightest ideas in the fields of safety-critical applications and bio-engineering in navigation. Mattia Crespi, Gabriele Colosimo, and Augusto Mazzoni developed a GNSS-based procedure that enables accurate estimation of co-seismic displacement waveforms in real time, which in turn facilitates earthquake risk assessment, related early-warning systems for tsunamis, and structural monitoring. "The VADASE idea is an excellent example of how society can benefit from science," stated Rolf-Dieter Fischer, head of technology marketing at DLR.

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