Image: Galileo Satellite – EUSPA

What’s New: On Tuesday Europe’s Galileo satnav system began a free high accuracy service.

Why It Matters: 

  • EU’s Galileo and China’s Bei Dou (BDS) satnav systems are newer and have more desirable features than America’s GPS.
  • GPS could add a high accuracy and anti-spoofing service via the internet.
    • A muddled leadership structure and bureaucratic obstacles hinder these improvements.
  • Until 2020 the U.S. led the world in satnav. It is now arguably in third place and falling further behind.
  • It’s not just about satnav. Tech innovation, national & economic security, need signals from space, fiber, and terrestrial broadcast (per DOT).

Interesting Charts: 

China already leads the world in positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) supporting all its technology and transportation. It is less reliant on space for its national and economic security than any other nation.


Galileo High Accuracy Service goes live!

Galileo, European Union Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), begins the delivery of its High Accuracy Service (HAS) today as officially announced by Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, “feeding a prosperous market for innovative applications – from farming to drone navigation and autonomous driving.”

Galileo is now the first Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) providing free-of-charge, high accuracy Precise Point Positioning (PPP) corrections worldwide both through the Galileo signal in space (E6-B) and via the internet.

The precise corrections provided by the Galileo HAS will allow users to improve the accuracy associated with the orbit, clocks and biases provided through the Galileo Open Service broadcast navigation messages and the GPS Standard Positioning Service navigation data. These corrections enable the computation of a high accuracy positioning solution in real-time when processed by an appropriate algorithm in the users’ receivers tracking the Galileo E6-B signal.

The typical accuracy below a few decimetres (<25cm horizontal) in nominal conditions of use is a revolution where Europe provides this as an integrated service for free, thus allowing the massive development of applications worldwide.

“This new service has been made possible thanks to the outstanding cooperation and team commitment of all involved partners” declared EUSPA Executive Director, Rodrigo da Costa.

“Galileo HAS will become the pillar of many EU sectorial policies. Currently, high accuracy is primarily used in such professional applications as surveying, precision agriculture and civil engineering, amongst others,” he says. “However, new and emerging applications, including autonomous driving, unmanned vehicles, robotics and a range of location-based services will all welcome high accuracy.”

Da Costa also notes that, when used in synergy with Copernicus, the Galileo HAS will open up new market possibilities and help design new services.

All official HAS documentation, including its Service Definition Document (SDD) are available in the European GNSS Service Center (E-GSC), managed by EUSPA.

The culmination of an ongoing process

In 2021, EUSPA published an Information Note on the Galileo HAS. The note provided an overview of the service’s main characteristics, along with information on such key features as targeted performance and markets, service levels and a roadmap for implementation.

External stakeholders participated in a testing campaign of the Galileo HAS Signal in Space broadcasting. Thus, relevant feedback has been collected not only on the HAS SiS Interface Control Document structure and implementation at the receiver level, but also on service-related aspects and specifications.

“The Galileo High Accuracy Service offers new levels of accuracy to everyone who needs it, while the Open Service Navigation Message Authentication allows users to authenticate Galileo signals, and therefore supports spoofing detection. ESA‘s role is to oversee Galileo system upgrades, working together with Galileo’s service provider, EUSPA, and its owner, the European Union”, remarks Javier Benedicto, ESA Director of Navigation.

“The Galileo programme has been performing a long set of HAS testing activities since 2019 leading to the first-ever HAS signal broadcast in May 2021,” adds Javier de Blas, EUSPA Commercial and HAS manager. “Based on the feedback gained during the joint efforts conducted by EUSPA, the European Commission and ESA, with the key support of the European aerospace industry during the testing phase, we were able to publish the first Galileo High Accuracy Service Signal in Space Interface Control Document and introduce the necessary changes to ensure the HAS Initial Service implements the feedback received from the users.”

Following the HAS Initial Service Declaration, the Galileo Programme will continue its efforts to incrementally improve its coverage and performance over the next years towards its Full-Service Declaration.

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