Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ESA is helping to make road transport more effective

02.10.2002


Space is the usual business of a space agency, so it may come as a surprise that the European Space Agency (ESA) is giving some attention to road transport.



The agency is designing and building the satellites that will make up the space segment of Galileo, Europe`s own global satellite navigation system. When Galileo becomes fully operational in 2008, road vehicles fitted with special receivers will be able to use signals broadcast by the satellites to determine their positions with unprecedented accuracy. Such information will open up new ways of managing traffic, leading to better road safety, fewer traffic jams and more efficient journeys. Already, ESA is assessing some of the possibilities.
Many cars already have GPS (Global Positioning System) that can tell you how to get to your destination. But what we will be able to have with Galileo is spot-on road traffic management. This is because the future satellite navigation services will be more reliable and much more accurate than the present GPS system.

Metre accuracy can already be achieved with satellite based augmentation systems, such as EGNOS (the European Global Navigation Overlay System), which improves the accuracy and reliability of GPS signals. “Galileo`s novel signal structure in combination with regional augmentations will notch the accuracy up again by an order of magnitude into the centimetre range. We have already tested the technology and are pretty sure that Galileo will achieve this. Galileo will also bring an enormous leap in the availability and reliability of positioning signals. We will be able to do things that have been impossible so far. What seems like science fiction today will be science fact in a few years` time," says Hans Fromm from ESA`s navigation department.



ESA has recently launched a new intelligent car initiative to test out some of these futuristic scenarios. Industry is being invited to send in proposals. The chief aims are to devise and demonstrate ways of using Galileo signals to improve road safety and manage traffic more efficiently. Initially, however, the new ideas will be tested using the EGNOS signal, which is already being broadcast.

Galileo could revolutionise the experience of future car-driving. The car of tomorrow, for example, might be equipped with an inter-car communication system that sends out a signal over a distance of about 100m containing information on the car`s position, direction of travel, speed and any other relevant information. Neighbouring vehicles, similarly equipped, will pick up the signal and automatically take action to continue driving safely. Such "smart" cars would avoid crashes, break softly in front of traffic jams, or wake up a driver who is falling asleep. Ultimately, Galileo`s guaranteed signal will be reliable enough for automated driver assistance. Already several car manufacturers are developing systems that integrate different aspects of a car`s control system with satellite navigation to provide an auto-pilot for cars.

Other possibilities include warning drivers of traffic jams and suggesting alternative routes; providing drivers with accurate and up-to-the-minute information on motorway lane closures and speed restrictions; and guiding drivers to the nearest parking space, hotel, restaurant or other facility. The list is almost endless.

Hans Hermann-Fromm | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht From parking garage to smart multi-purpose garage
19.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Efficient and intelligent: Drones get to grips with planning the delivery of goods
12.07.2017 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>