Two hundred participants representing worldwide transport, space, telecommunications, academia and research took part in the third edition of the European Space Solutions organised from 11 – 13 June 2014 in Prague by the European GNSS Agency in collaboration with the European Commission, European Parliament and the Czech Ministry of Transport.
Under the topic “Discover what space brings to your life” scientific communication sessions for applications in rail, aviation, sustainable land management and earth observation demonstrated the impressive potential of space technologies to add significant value and create new functions and facilities. Mr Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Antonin Prachar, Minister of Transport, and representatives of the European Commission and of the European Parliament underpinned the major contribution of space technologies to progress and life quality and also the major interest to develop the applications’ areas, to finalise the full operational phase of GALILEO and continue to support research in the fundamental and applicative domains. Mr Carlo Des Dorides, Executive Director of the European GNSS Agency especially invited UIC given its recognised prominent role in the application of satellite navigation technology in the railway system. Mr George Barbu was appointed by UIC Director General Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux to represent UIC.
The “Space solutions for rail” session, chaired by Mr Christian Siebert, Head of Unit GALILEO and EGNOS Applications in the EC DG Enterprise & Industry, also included the presentations of applied solutions in signalling and train control – SATLOC – and the challenges of using GNSS within ETCS. Discussions and conclusions have clearly shown that GNSS applications in railway safety for signalling and train control are a reality.
They can now offer low cost solutions, yet are applicable on low traffic density lines. The adoption within ETCS is envisaged by UINISIG which has appointed a work group and leads a programme with this aim. Mr Giancarlo Calini, GSA Director for Market Development, declared that the European GNSS Agency has now included rail in the priority application domain. It is expected that, in addition to the signalling and train control domain, asset management is also a priority target for the new technology. The already demonstrated innovative solutions such as SATLOC are contributing to increase the confidence in space technology for rail safety applications and the alleviation of existing mentality barriers.