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Additional accuracy enhances ITS options

First publishedin ITS International
January February 2015
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EGNOS GPS accuracy reliability Galileo
GPS+EGNOS based architecture for tracking and tracing of freight
High accuracy and reliability of GNSS location data is available using the EGNOS services to be ready for Galileo’s expanding satellite constellation.

Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) are increasingly a building block for ITS applications from road user charging and E-call to tracking & tracing of freight.

Even while the European Space Agency is still assembling the Galileo constellation, EGNOS (the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is already providing the basis of a range of services across Europe and the regions around the Mediterranean Sea. EGNOS improves the accuracy of the current GPS signal and provides integrity information, making it suitable for applications requiring accurate and reliable positioning. EGNOS provides an Open Service which is free to users of the satellites’ open signal, and the EGNOS Data Access Service (EDAS) delivered through a server via terrestrial networks to enable a further increase in GPS performance.

EGNOS is able to enhance existing GPS-based ITS solutions and Galileo will allow further improvements on a global scale when it will become fully operational.

Technologies and software solutions which use EGNOS to deliver added value services for transport and mobility applications have been developed by various European research projects co-funded by industry. The European Commission has also introduced other initiatives to promote EGNOS outside Europe particularly in neighbouring areas (see ITS International May/June 2014).

An example is LCS (LoCation Server) which has been developed by Telespazio, a Finmeccanica-Thales company. LCS makes use of EGNOS Open Service and EDAS, and it is a multi-constellation compatible solution suitable for ITS, tracking and tracing services for freight transport, and logistics applications. The system’s ability to enhance the accuracy and the reliability of positional information has been validated in life demonstrations and real business cases in Europe and beyond.

So even before the Galileo constellation is operational, LCS enables users in Europe and in the North African and Middle East regions around the Mediterranean Sea to exploit EGNOS. LCS is a ‘plug-in’ solution to utilise EDAS and is easily retrofitted to existing GPS tracking and tracing systems, both in tracking devices and at servers. It receives data from the tracking devices installed on tracked assets such as vehicles, containers and tankers, and provides positioning and security information in accordance with CEN Workshop Agreement CWA 16390.

The use of  LCS enhances the accuracy of the position measured with GPS by approximately four metres (users of the EGNOS Open Service get an enhancement of approximately three metres) and it provides information (called ‘protection level’) qualifying/guaranteeing the measured position and thus ensuring the robustness of the received signals.

LCS has been extensively integrated in operational GPS-based platforms to utilise EGNOS. In various European projects it has been proved in many applications and in various modes of transport and environments.

In the SCUTUM project, the system has been utilised to track and trace the transport of dangerous goods in Europe including more than 300 vehicles belonging to a leading oil company which are used for transporting dangerous goods by road.

In the CONTAIN project LCS has been validated by demonstrations at Interporto Bologna for monitoring the shipment of intermodal containers along road and rail corridors.

The EGNOS2road project demonstrated applications including road charging, monitoring the transit of vehicles in limited traffic areas and  controlling the traffic of heavy goods vehicles and urban regulated fleets (such as city logistics and local public transport).

Outside of Europe, LCS has been validated in MEDUSA (MEDiterranean follow-Up for EGNOS Adoption) to track and trace the shipment of containers across the Mediterranean Sea and the movement of commercial vehicles in Jordan in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport of Jordan and the Jordanian Customs.

The results of these trials and applications demonstrate an increase in efficiency, safety and security, improved traffic management, risk management and prevention. Moreover, the ‘protection level’ delivered is a guarantee of the position information reliability, allowing the establishment of liability schemes among the various stakeholders, thus supporting the implementation of a smart mobility and the European policies for logistics such as ‘e-freight’ and ‘green lanes’.

Capitalising on these use cases, the recently started CORE project is developing a real business case for the intermodal transport of dangerous material across Europe with the participation of chemicals, minerals and gas logistics company Hoyer.

Companies in this article

European Commission
The European Space Agency

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