The ESCAPE project
With connected vehicles and autonomous driving vehicles being the most relevant trend in the automotive sector there is a clear need to provide accurate and reliable positioning information for safety-critical applications. Within the context of road transportation, safety-critical applications are defined as those that possess the potential to, directly or indirectly, avoid causing harm to humans, destroying the vehicle or damaging external property or the environment. Autonomous driving, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and dangerous goods transportation are all included in this group.
The traditional way of providing the required accurate and reliable positioning information is to make use of multiple sources of sensor data. The problem with this approach is that it requires the use of such sophisticated equipment as radar/lidar-based sensor and cameras, which tend to be expensive. Furthermore, as this equipment is not specifically designed for use with automotive consumer applications, it is not fully suitable to provide reliable positioning information.
European Safety Critical Applications Positioning Engine – ESCAPE project aims to overcome these multiple challenges by developing a dedicated, reliable and accurate engine, specifically designed for automotive safety-critical applications.
The GNSS receiver in the ESCAPE engine will feature multi-constellation, multi-frequency capabilities and will be enabled to receive and process the upcoming Galileo OS authenticated signals, which is one of the key differentiators of the European GNSS, expected to be broadcast starting form 2018.
The ESCAPE is funded under the Fundamental Elements Development of E-GNSS engine for safety-critical multi-applications in road transport call. The project will last three years, from autumn 2016 to autumn 2019, and it has a 5.4 M€ budget.
ESCAPE (European Safety Critical Applications Positioning Engine) is led by the Spanish company FICOSA in collaboration with partners from across Europe. The project consortium also includes stakeholders from across the automotive value chain. The consortium is composed by: GMV from Spain, Renault and IFSSTAR from France, STMicroelectronics and Istituto Superiore Mario Boella from Italy. These companies are pooling their complementary competences and pre-existing knowledge to develop an innovative positioning engine that exploits European GNSS (E-GNSS) differentiators and will be available for future commercialisation. Ultimately, the project will develop by 2019 the first multi-constellation Galileo chipset receiver with multi-frequency capability specifically adapted to road applications – and in particular autonomous vehicles.
ESCAPE will set a new paradigm among and across the technologies enabling road vehicle automation. The keyword is “safety-oriented”.
The Fundamental Elements funding scheme
In 2015, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) launched Fundamental Elements, an R&D funding mechanism supporting the development of global navigation satellite system-(GNSS) enabled chipsets, receivers and antennas. The mechanism aims to support the development of innovative chipset and receiver technology that industry would not invest in on its own initiative, thus accelerating their integration of Galileo and EGNOS into market-ready devices. The end goal is to develop close-to-market chipsets, receivers and antennas in targeted markets. The first project to come out Fundamental Elements is dedicated to the automotive segment.