France: A navigation system for self-driving vehicles that uses satellite radar data has won the top prize in the European Earth-monitoring competition. In its third year, the Copernicus Masters competition – previously known as the GMES Masters – received more than 140 business proposals from teams in 23 European countries.
The competition seeks innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data, while fostering creative product development and entrepreneurship in Europe.
The 2013 winners were announced at an event in Munich, Germany. Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, presented the Copernicus Master prize to Hartmut Runge from the DLR German Aerospace Center for his project, Landmark Navigation with Radar Fix Points from Satellites.
The overall winner’s idea also won the BMW ConnectedDrive Challenge. The idea is for a new vehicle navigation system that works independently of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). It will navigate by landmarks that are easily visible from the vehicle, whose positions are derived precisely from radar remote-sensing satellites like TerraSAR-X and Sentinel-1.
The combination of this technique with GNSS will lead to higher system integrity and reliability, which is important in applications requiring a high level of safety.