Ceit-IK4, a partner in five research projects within the Galileo initiative, is to receive over 2M€ for its contribution to the EU's geolocation system, which aims to be an alternative to GPS


Ceit-IK4 is one of the most active research centers in the Basque Country and in Spain when it comes to being awarded and managing research that is connected to the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system, which is managed by the European GNSS Agency (GSA). Researchers at the San Sebastian-based technology center will receive over 2M€ for their involvement in five research projects that tie into the deployment of Galileo-based applications.

How can an exact location be pinpointed during natural disasters? How can an autonomous vehicle be safely positioned? How can firefighters use their rescue teams more effectively? And how can the risk of train derailment be reduced? Around 30 Ceit-IK4researchers are tackling these questions through the development of solutions for Galileo, the European global navigation satellite system, which is both an alternative and a complement to the GPS system.

The San-Sebastian-based research center is the Spanish leader in developing projects within the Galileo program. The projects that Ceit-IK4 is working on are Mobnet (for emergency situations), Propart (for autonomous vehicles), Aiosat (for firefighter rescue teams) and Ersat and Sia (for railway safety and train maintenance). These projects make Ceit-IK4 one of the more active partners in the deployment of Galileo-based applications.

Although these projects address different areas, they all do their part to improve geolocation and make advances in signal reliability and maintenance by overcoming the limitations of areas with low visibility or a lack of positioning accuracy, scenarios that occur in current system use. These advances will be used to locate accident victims in isolated areas as well as to improve the reliability of autonomous vehicles by increasing safety and reliability standards and avoiding the failures caused by imprecise geolocation. Galileo will also help firefighters with their rescue efforts. Satellite-based positioning is used in firefighting, and it is not uncommon for there to be positioning challenges in areas where smoke is thick or terrain is rough, or inside burning buildings.

Ceit-IK4 is also using Galileo to reduce the risk of train car derailment by improving safety through the use of the smart balise and by transmitting information that will let operators determine the status of the rail assets that incur the greatest maintenance costs, namely wheels, rails, pantographs and catenaries. These technologies will generate considerable maintenance cost savings by reducing the need for in-situ inspection while at the same time significantly reducing the risk of derailment due to broken rails.