Tomorrow’s driving is characterized by increasing connectivity and autonomy of the road sector. As a result, the global need for seamless and ubiquitous positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) in particular for road vehicles is also increasing. Therefore, the Navigation Innovation and Support Program (NAVISP) of the European Space Agency (ESA), together with ERTICO – ITS Europe, is dedicating a thematic window to “Ubiquitous PNT for Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility for more efficient, safe, and sustainable roads and vehicles”.

Satellite navigation, or more generally Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) data, has for years influenced and transformed developments in the road transport sector to increase efficiency and safety and enable a reliable navigation. Global satellite navigation systems such as the European system GALILEO or the American system GPS provide extremely accurate PNT information that is relied upon in road traffic, not only to navigate the driver safely from A to B, but also to enable autonomous driving in a reliable and safe manner. However, satellite signals can be cut off by tall buildings, low underpasses, or unwanted reflections known as the “multipath effect,” causing location information to be lost. Therefore, as technologies become more advanced, the need increases for truly integrated transportation systems that combine data from many sources, including space and terrestrial data, in order to provide reliable solutions that enable various driving functions such as speed control, traffic management, and collision avoidance while minimizing environmental impact. In this context, assisted or automated vehicles must make use of data from multiple sensors – such as satellites, but also video cameras, lidar, radar, inertial measurement units and odometers – along with wi-fi, 5G or 6G to enable ubiquitous and continuous PNT information for vehicles.

To support and accelerate this transition to a more connected, collaborative, and automated transportation sector, ESA’s Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVISP), in cooperation with ERTICO-ITS Europe, has opened a dedicated call for ideas to solicit proposals from European industry: Suppliers, Service Providers and Automotive OEMs as well as research organisations to advance the use of PNT in the field of CCAM. The combination of ERTICO’s and ESA’s strengths opens up a variety of unique starting points for future research and development and presents the opportunity to bring ideas closer to the market and increase the chances for commercialization of space-based applications.

Companies and research institutes participating in the call, therefore, have the unique opportunity to receive not only financial support (up to 100%, depending on the activity and size of the company), but also personalized technical and commercial guidance, access to a wide network of partners from ESA and ERTICO, as well as the trustworthiness of the ESA brand.

The call addresses all actors located in Member States of ESA that subscribe to the NAVISP Programme. Companies of all sizes, Research Institutions as well as public Authorities from Austria, Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are invited to submit their ideas on this topic. Overall, the nature of projects related to the thematic window is relatively broad, ranging from the development of products along the entire value chain to proofs of concept, demonstrators and test beds. The term “product” can stand for a technology, equipment, system, subsystem, software and/or service. The proposed activities may be related to the improvement of an existing product, or to the development of a new, disruptive product. The level of funding will therefore depend on the needs of each individual proposal.

Ubiquitous PNT effectively can potentially lead to several safety and efficiency benefits in CCAM (reduced risk of collisions, minimised congestion, optimised routing, and reduced energy consumption) in line with ERTICO’s vision for safer, smarter, and greener mobility for the benefit of all.

More information on the Thematic Window can be found in the following clarification. This document includes a detailed description of the requirements to participate as well as the challenges and the specific use cases (The clarification, including the full Thematic Window can be found here).

An information webinar was held on October 18, 2022 to inform interested stakeholders about the thematic window. All presentations as well as the recording of the event can be found here.

To participate, please visit ESA’s Open Space Innovation plattform (OSIP), where you can submit your ideas. There, the application process as well as the requirements and evaluation criteria are explained in more detail, including detailed instructions on how to ensure the quality of your submitted idea.

Deadline for submissions: 31 March 2023

Do you still have open questions? No problem, just send an email with your questions to Dr. Nikolaos Tsampieris, Senior Manager at ERTICO, and the NAVISP team will get back to you as soon as possible.