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The European GNSS Agency (GSA) in collaboration with the European Commission has developed a mobile solution, the “Galileo Green Lane” App, to facilitate the free movement of freight, reduce waiting times at EU borders, and prioritize essential goods during the current COVID-19 pandemic response.
The app uses the positioning services of Galileo and is designed to address the needs of border control authorities and truck drivers, with two intuitive user interfaces.
For border control authorities, the app provides a real-time visualisation of the situation at border crossings along with regular updates on the traffic flow situation. At the same time, the app provides Member States with a website where they can generate reports automatically, making it easier to comply with EU recommendations.
Several EU countries have welcomed the opportunity to use “Galileo Green Lane” and the app has been already been tested at border crossings in Hungary and the Czech Republic. Other countries such as France, Greece, Italy, Romania and Spain are about to start testing.
For truck drivers, the app provides a realtime visualisation of borders, through an EU-wide map indicating crossing times. This enables logistic companies and drivers to better prepare their routes, having advance knowledge of the waiting time at each border crossing. When drivers enter a geo-fenced area within a specified distance from a border, they receive a notification produced by the border officers on the current situation at that border. Their location is collected anonymously only when they are approaching the border and it is solely used to update the overall border picture. Crowdsourced information is aggregated, including data from the leading European real-time visibility platform Sixfold. www.gsa.europa.eu
eCall: 2 years of saving lives
The EU launched its eCall emergency response system with the publication, on 31 March 2018, of the European eCall regulation, requiring all new car and light van types sold in the EU to be fitted with the system. Manufacturers were quick to respond, with Volvo Cars being the first to certify the system for use in its vehicles and the first to launch an eCall-equipped model to the market – presenting the V60 at the ITS World Congress 2018 in Copenhagen in September 2018.
European Commission services – specifically the Joint Research Centre – and the GSA helped pave the way for a quick and smooth uptake by the automobile industry, publishing a set of guidelines to help the eCall industry value chain to pre-test the accuracy of their new devices and understand how to reap the benefits of Galileo.
According to European Commission figures, 25,300 people were killed and 135,000 people were seriously injured in road accidents in the EU in 2017. While new automotive technologies have resulted in a sharp drop in the number of fatalities – which have fallen by 57.5% since 2001, the numbers are still high. By speeding up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and 50% in the countryside, it is estimated that eCall could help prevent 2,500 road deaths and save EUR 26 billion every year. http://www.gsa.europa.eu
In response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, ESA’s Directorate of Navigation has shifted to teleworking while also ensuring the continuity of essential tasks, in particular the continued delivery of positioning, navigation, and timing services of the Galileo and the augmentation system EGNOS.
In addition to ensuring business continuity in critical areas, the team is maintaining constant contact with the various stakeholders and several measures have been taken as follows:
The first two satellites of Galileo’s Batch 3 are currently based at the ESTEC Test Centre in the Netherlands, for engineering tests ahead of launch. This test campaign has been suspended, based on the medical advice that too high a concentration of people would be needed on-site if testing were to continue.
These stored satellites are being monitored by staff visiting ESTEC every few days, to verify that all is in order.
Other Galileo-related testing continues with the aim of supporting future launches. ESTEC-based lifetime testing of the next set of rubidium atomic clocks is set to continue, involving onsite monitoring every few days.
The navigation R&D projects undertaken under the Directorate’s Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVISP) are continuing although at a somewhat slower pace, given the crisis. So are the Satellite Navigation projects financed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and which develop future technology for the EU satellite navigation projects.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on On April 20, 2020, announced that it has approved with conditions Ligado’s application to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band that will primarily support 5G and Internet of Things services. The order approving Ligado’s application was adopted without dissent and will promote more efficient and effective use of our nation’s spectrum resources and ensurethat adjacent band operations, including the Global Positioning System (GPS), are protected from harmful interference.
“I thank my colleagues for coming together on a bipartisan basis to support Ligado’s application,” said Chairman Pai. “The vote at the Commission reflects the broad, bipartisan support that this order has received, from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr on the one hand to Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and
Congresswoman Doris Matsui of California on the other. This vote is another step forward for American leadership in 5G and advanced wireless services.”
In the order approving Ligado’s application, the Commission included stringent conditions to ensure that incumbents would not experience harmful interference. For example, the Commission mandated that Ligado provide a significant (23 megahertz) guard-band using its own licensed spectrum to separate its terrestrial base station transmissions from neighboring operations in the Radionavigation-Satellite Service allocation. Moreover, Ligado is required to limit the power levels of its base stations to 9.8 dBW, a reduction of 99.3% from the power levels proposed in Ligado’s 2015 application.
The order also requires Ligado to protect adjacent band incumbents by reporting its base station locations and technical operating parameters to potentially affected government and industry stakeholders prior to commencing operations, continuously monitoring the transmit power of its base station sites, and complying with procedures and actions for responding to credible reports of interference, including rapidshutdown of operations where warranted. https://docs.fcc.gov