Europe launches GSA-based autonomous driving project

Article By : Julien Happich

ESCAPE aims to deliver a positioning engine tailoured to meet safety requirements expressed by road transport applications involving automation.

The European agency for the global navigation satellite systems (GSA) has kicked off a $5.9 million (€5.4 million), three-year project to exploit the services offered by European satellite navigation system Galileo in the field of the automated driving.

The project, called ESCAPE (European Safety Critical Applications Positioning Engine), is led by the Spanish company FICOSA in collaboration with partners from across Europe: GMV from Spain, Renault and IFSTTAR from France, STMicroelectronics and Istituto Superiore Mario Boella from Italy.

By 2019, the ESCAPE consortium aims to deliver an innovative positioning engine tailoured to meet the safety requirements expressed by road transport applications that will involve automation.

ESCAPE will enable a high grade of data fusion with different vehicle sensors and the exploitation of key technological differentiators such as the “precise point positioning” service (PPP), the potential use of the Galileo ionospheric model and the provision of an “integrity layer” to assess the degree of trust one can associate to the position information provided by the device.

According to the companies involved in the project, ESCAPE will set a new paradigm among and across the technologies enabling road vehicle automation. The main keyword of this new paradigm is “safety-oriented” while the pathway is the integration of multiple sources of positioning information (multiple satellite constellations, multiple signal frequencies, and multiple on board sensors including maps) and high accuracy services.

ESCAPE has been funded under the Fundamental Elements programme of the GSA. This is a new EU R&D funding mechanism supporting the development of EGNSS-enabled chipsets, receivers and antennas, with the major objectives of facilitating the adoption of the European GNSS Systems while improving the competitiveness of the EU industry, by addressing specific user needs in priority market segments.

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