The safe operation of autonomous vehicles may be enabled through enhancements to space based positioning systems being investigated in Europe, with benefits flowing to Australia.
Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has been selected by the European Commission for a new strategic contract to assess the extension of the Safety of Life system for aviation into the road, rail and maritime sectors.
Thales Alenia Space will focus on the development of a new approach to combine several sensors (sensors fusion) including and complementing evolutions of EGNOS the European SBAS (Space Based Augmentation System) in order to provide the necessary Safety of Life integrity level to serve the high reliability and high accuracy positioning needs of new demanding applications such as road autonomous vehicles but also autonomous transport in maritime and rail sectors.
With this contract, Thales Alenia Space will assess the extension of the integrity and safety of life services for aviation into the road, rail and maritime sectors, having already won last year the EPICURE project, based on an integrity concept for road travel (tolls and insurance), as well as the IMPRESS project targeting an integrity service for rail signaling and train separation.
The extension of Safety of Life integrity services beyond the traditional aviation certified capability, could deliver significant benefit to Australia and New Zealand including broader local industry benefits with emerging safety critical applications such as, mining and resources as well as ground transportation, maritime, rail and autonomous vehicles.
Prime contractor for EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) for 25 years, a lead industrial contributor to Galileo system and ground mission segment and now responsible for providing 6 Galileo Second Generation satellites, Thales Alenia Space has always been at the forefront of navigation solutions in Europe.
Today, GNSS, as an absolute positioning system, is a key driver for wide scope positioning applications. Tomorrow, the addition and integration of an integrity service complementing EGNSS High Accuracy will foster the emergence of large-scale precision safety critical applications, such as autonomous vehicles.
About Thales Alenia Space
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of approximately 1.850 billion euros in 2020 and has around 7,700 employees in ten countries.
About Thales Australia
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management and ground transport systems to security systems and services. Thales Australia employs around 3,800 people directly and supports over 1,700 job along its Australian supply chain. In 2019 Thales Australia spent $522 million with 1,362 Australia suppliers, of which 70% are SMEs.
Thales Australia has a history of patient investment to build advanced in-country capability across manufacturing, critical systems and services. Close collaborative relationships with local customers, Australian SME suppliers and research institutions combined with technology transfer from our global business enables Thales to tailor high quality solutions for Australian and export markets, generating revenue of $1.6 billion in exports over the past 10 years.