France: ESA is working directly with European manufacturers of mass market satellite navigation chips and receivers to ensure that their products are Galileo-ready as the first Galileo services are expected to begin this year. “Our objective is to make sure, ahead of the EU’s declaration of early Galileo services that mass market devices are ready and able to make use of them. In coordination with the European GNSS Agency, we put out an open call to satellite navigation manufacturers offering testing with our laboratory facilities. We have gone on to work with five mass-market chipset makers and a comparable number of professional receivers manufacturers,” said Riccardo de Gaudenzi, head of ESA’s Radio Frequency Systems.
Key facilities being used at ESA’s Navigation Laboratory include its state-of-the-art hybrid localisation solution rack, where receiver chips can be plugged in. This rack generates simulated constellations of Galileo, GPS and other satellite navigation systems along with Wi-Fi or mobile networks which phone-based satellite navigation chips often additionally employ. It can also simulate inputs from the kind of inbuilt gyro-type devices receivers employ for dead reckoning, to continue positioning measurements when satellites are out of view. Another resource is the octobox – a mini anechoic chamber into which phones or mobile devices can be placed, in order to feed them simulated satellite navigation and cellular network signals.