Growing NAVIS (G-NAVIS) started from the achievements of a former FP7 project: SEAGAL. The idea is to exploit the potential of the NAVIS centre. G-NAVIS supports the growth of the NAVIS Collaboration Centre enhancing its technical and research capabilities and extending its links in South East Asia and Europe for a better cooperation with Europe, European institutions and possibly European companies. In fact, G-NAVIS expanded the SEAGAL consortium adding new partners from Malaysia and Germany and started cooperation with Australian organizations.
G-NAVIS aims to consolidate the actions undertaken by the SEAGAL Project, which was funded in the first Galileo Call, with the objective to set up a Collaboration Centre on European GNSS. The Centre, named NAVIS, was opened in October 2010. It is based within the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) premises and is part of it, but it is also backed by some European Research Institutions that formally committed to support and promote the Collaboration Centre.
According to the guidelines defined in the SEAGAL Project, the NAVIS Centre should carry on the following activities:
- Research/technology transfer and support to the private sector,
- Support to public bodies.
While the Centre is located in HUST, its actions should not be confined to Vietnam only, instead they should be oriented towards the whole South East Asian Region with particular attention to the ASEAN Member states.
Indeed, the Collaboration Centre is now in an early stage in which it cannot fully undertake all its commitments yet. The reason for this lies in the fact that structures always need time to become fully operative. On top of this, those actions which are directed toward third parties (such as the support to private and public actors) require that the Collaboration Centre is recognized as a credible and respected institution from the scientific\technical point of view. Such credits, indeed, cannot be achieved over a short time, regardless from the available funding.
Therefore, this new project should contribute to the growth of the NAVIS Collaboration Centre supporting in particular those actions that:
- Enhance its technical and research capabilities so that it can be recognized as a valid research and innovation centre;
- Extend its links in South East Asia with a particular focus on the ASEAN Member States;
- Strengthen its cooperation with Europe, European institutions and possibly European companies.
These actions will be conducted taking in due consideration the particular location of the Collaboration Centre. In fact, NAVIS is in a Region where other important actors are contributing to the GNSS environment so that it will be soon exposed to a multi-GNSS environment with features that will not be available in other regions of the world.
The present project will therefore start cooperation also with Japanese and Australian organizations which are important players in the region and research activities will focus on topics which can benefit from the multi-GNSS environment or on themes that facilitate the diffusion and exploitation of European GNSS research results. Growing NAVIS has a lifespan of 31 (plus 5) months and it aims to develop the scientific activities and the international links of the NAVIS Centre.
With these actions, the project fully addresses the topics of the Call, in particular for what concerns the extension of actions already undertaken in the first and second Galileo Call broadening their scope, speeding up developments, extending cooperation with GNSS operators (the Japanese agency JAXA) and sustaining the diffusion of European research and technology both toward the public and private sector.
Summarizing, the actions of the project will be carried on in South East Asia, in Europe and in Australia in a coordinated and complementary way. The main focus will indeed be on South East Asia and in particular on the NAVIS Collaboration Centre which has to grow in capacities and reputation. The geographical distribution of the actions of this project is as follows:
- Research activities (relative to the project) will be conducted in the NAVIS Centre as well as in the European partner Institutions and in Australia.
- Awareness activities, consisting in three workshops, will be conducted in South East Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam)
- Training activities, consisting in:
- One Summer School to be attended by ASEAN experts in Vietnam
- Training courses for Asian experts in the NAVIS Centre in Vietnam
- Training periods offered to South East Asian staff, post docs, and students in the European partner institutions
- Dissemination activities in conferences and workshops throughout the world, with a particular focus on events in the Asia-Pacific Region such as the APRSAF and the related Multi-GNSS Workshop.
- Networking activities with European and ASEAN Institutions in Europe and in ASEAN Member States with particular attention to the activities carried on and promoted by the SCOSA-COST Committees of the ASEAN.
The aim of G-NAVIS is to boost the already running activities ensuring the surviving and the growth of NAVIS. At the same time, the project ensures a long term relationship between NAVIS and the European Union. One of the most important aims of this action is to keep alive the connection with EU at all levels, from the political to the technological point of view. The G-NAVIS Project is funded by the Call Galileo.2011.4.3-1 – International Activities (Grant Agreement No. 287203).
The project involves partners from: Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia (not funded by EU but on Australian funds). G-NAVIS lasts from 2012 to 2015.
GROWING NAVIS ACTIVITIES:
G-NAVIS aims to develop the scientific activities and the scientific reputation of the NAVIS Centre through some specific research actions. The starting point of all these actions is to exploit the peculiarities of the NAVIS centre, due to its location in South East Asia. First of all, the Multi-GNSS environment is really available in Vietnam since the country today can already receive GNSS signals from all the available navigation systems available while in the rest of the world this will happen in the next 10 years. Secondly, Vietnam and the ASEAN Member States are characterized by a fast economic growth that is leading to an unprecedented urbanization and a constant need of efficient infrastructures. For this reason the G-NAVIS project is carrying the following research activities:
- Multi-GNSS Receiver.
The Multi-GNSS receiver development is part of the WP300. The main objectvites of the WP are:
- To provide an overall picture of all Global and Regional Navigation Satellite System (GNSS/RNSS) in the South-East Asia region.
- To propose advance signal processing for Multi-GNSS receivers with main concerns on Asian systems, such as: QZSS (Japan) and Compass (China).
Politecnico di Torino will lead this WP.
Multi-GNSS approach means to redesign current conventional GNSS receivers, which work only with GPS. From literature, this WP focuses on summarizing the requirements of all modules inside a GNSS receiver (i.e. antenna, front-end, baseband processing, PVT computation) in order to accommodate more than one system. Particular attention will be devoted to QZSS and Compass enabled architectures.
This work concentrates on signal processing algorithms exploiting the advantages of multi-GNSS environments. It is foreseen to investigate two different approaches, thus the work will be organised in two tasks
Task 1 Aiding approach: two directions can be examined
- Assisted positioning: New algorithms to incorporate aiding information from RNSSs such as QZSS are considered.
- Peer-to-Peer positioning: This new direction aims at providing a low-cost aiding infrastructure among nodes, which are basically GNSS receivers of different systems. The work in this direction concentrates on proposing new algorithms for cooperative positioning.
Task 2 Combined approach:
The combined approach utilizes information from all the systems in order to propose common solutions for a shared problem. In this approach, the work focuses on introducing combined Position-Velocity-Time computing solutions for multi-GNSS receivers.
- Precise Positioning.
The objective of this section, WP200, is to study the feasibility of the precise navigation techniques, initially developed for the European region, to this Asian region.
The WP leader is the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunia.
The work is finalized to characterize the ionospheric conditions (nominal and perturbed) of the South East of Asia region. It will be split in tasks:
- Task 1 - From GIMs: To characterize the large scale events of the ionosphere in the area.
- Task 2 - To study regional or local disturbances of the ionosphere that could affect to the navigation.
The analysis will search for data in the network (IGS) and other type data, used in other experiments, which were gathered on similar conditions than in the project. Indeed, starting from the algorithms defined in other projects, which are able for provide corrections for precise navigation, the algorithms will be adapted to the ionospheric characteristics of South East Asian region.
The analysis will be followed by some experiments aiming to teste the reliability of the algorithms. The idea it is to use Galileo signals to test the adaptation of the European algorithms to the new environment.
The advent of multiconstellation / multifrequency GNSS (GALILEO, GPS III systems) could finally open the door for the extension of High Accuracy Positioning Services (HPPS) to Mass Market Users, with fundamental impact on the application domain. Feasibility has been investigated by the research group of Astronomy and Geomatics (gAGE) of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), developing new algorithms and showing that centimetre level of accuracy navigation can be achieved over continental areas with a reduced number of reference stations (e.g. as the already available EGNOS RIMS in Europe). Moreover, this high accuracy is reached very quickly (almost instantaneously) thanks to very accurate ionospheric corrections and the 3-frequency Galileo signals. This entails a dramatic improvement regarding to the classical Precise Point Positioning (PPP) approach, which last for the best part of one hour to converge. This new technique is called Wide Area Real Time Kinematics (WARTK).
At present, such accuracy can be only achieved by means of a network of stations separated less than 20Km from the user (Real Time Kinematics [RTK]). With the new technique developed by gAGE/UPC (probably the first group in demonstrating the feasibility of the concept), the baselines between the reference stations can be extended up to hundreds of kilometres. Therefore, a precise navigation service for a whole continent becomes feasible with a very reduced infrastructure investment regarding to the present RTK system (only some tens of stations [as in EGNOS system] are needed, instead of thousands [as in RTK] for covering all Europe). On the other hand, the setting up of the system does not require a high investment, because it can use the network of reference stations already deployed for the EGNOS system, giving a double use to an investment already done. In 1999, gAGE/UPC patented the ionospheric part of the technique for GPS (Wide Area RTK [WARTK], gAGE/UPC patent) and, in 2002, the algorithms were extended to Galileo and modernized GPS and protected by an ESA founded patent (WARTK-3, in the context of a ESA project).
- Intelligent Transportation Systems.
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) provide fundamental positioning and timing services which are fed to numerous applications collectively known as Location Based Services (LBS). Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are one of the most active fields among LBS. ITS are meant to improve both security and efficiency of transportation, even making it more comfortable. To reach these goals, ITS make use of radio communications to exchange information between vehicle and road-side-units (RSU). Information may not even come from centralized systems, but can be directly collected by agents or vehicles and transmitted to the neighbouring ones depending on the context and capabilities. The accuracy of the positioning and timing information taken from the GNSS are of vital importance to enable a real breakthrough by these new applications.
ITS applications can be classified into a few main classes:
- Security applications, providing immediate warning in case of danger up to more general information about any possible threat (fog, ice on the road, flooding, …),
- Navigation and adaptive navigation, providing information on how to get to the destination, eventually how to be aware and take into account the real traffic conditions,
- Automatic driving, including platooning,
- Fleet management,
- Other services and infotainment.
The objective of this research activity is to define an environment to design ITS application using multi-radio technologies including Vehicular Ad-hoc Network (VANET). In particular the activity is split into 3 main sub-tasks:
- Study of a dynamic cooperative navigation application for South-East Asian cities based on mobile data.
- Modelling efficient and adaptive VANET algorithms to broadcast information in variably dense environment.
- Emulation of VANET broadcast solutions on mobile phones.
Education and Training
The G-NAVIS project is supporting the mobility of G-NAVIS Consortium researchers. In 2012 and 2013 NAVIS researchers participated to research activities in Italy, France and Spain. At the same time Italian, French and Spanish researchers spent some research periods in Vietnam to carry on the R&D activities on multi-GNSS algorithms, Intelligent Transportation Systems and Precise Positioning.
A one-week Summer School entitled “Multi-GNSS environment for sustainable development” has been organized by G-NAVIS in Vietnam from 9 to 13 September 2013. The School was held in Hoi An (a UNESCO world heritage city near Da Nang), Vietnam. The Summer School was designed for researchers, technicians, PhD students, Public and private decision makers who operate in GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, COMPASS) and RNSS (QZSS, GAGAN, etc.) related fields and are willing to increase their knowledge on GNSS. The Summer School was attended by 18 people from many ASEAN countries. Lectures and hands-on sessions were provided by experts from G-NAVIS Consortium, from other relevant Agencies such as the Japanese JAXA and by Ansaldo STS.
Awareness activities are a pillar of the G-NAVIS project. In order to reach the widest possible audience, the project foresees three international workshops that have to be conducted in South East Asia: in Malaysia, in Vietnam and in Thailand. Thanks to the experience acquired with similar workshops during the former SEAGAL project, the G-NAVIS Consortium is trying to exploit the full potential of these public events. For this reason, the first international workshop was merged with another international event: the Asia Oceania Regional Workshop on GNSS that has been held yearly as part of Asia Oceania Multi-GNSS Demonstration Campaign promoted by Multi-GNSS Asia – MGA. MGA is an organization whose aim is to promote Multi-GNSS in the Asia-Oceania Region. The organization is carried on mainly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – JAXA and supported by the International Committee on GNSS of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. The merging of the two workshops boosted the participation and maximized the visibility of the G-NAVIS project and of its activities.
So, G-NAVIS co-organized the 4th Asia Oceania Regional Workshop on GNSS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from December 8th to 11th, 2012 together with the Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Satellite Positioning Research and Application Center (SPAC), supported by International Committee on GNSS (ICG) and International GNSS Service (IGS). Following the same approach, the 5th Asia Oceania Regional Workshop on GNSS will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, from 1st to 3rd December 2013, and it will be jointly organized by Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Satellite Positioning Research and Application Center (SPAC) of Japan, G-NAVIS and QZS System Services Inc.(QSS).
Further information on the Project web site: www.g-navis.eu
South East Asia is a complex region where it is possible to find countries with different kind of development and very diverse outlooks. However, the SEA is developing quite fast. SEA can be identified with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), established on 8 August 1967. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are the founders but Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, Viet Nam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. Today ASEAN can be considered the most relevant political actor in the region. EU has some high level contacts with ASEAN.
The past SEAGAL project focused on Vietnam and Thailand. Both are shifting their economies away from just labor intensive and low technology industrial activities to know-how based productions. However this process is general in SEA countries with a well-defined trend. For this reason, SEA countries have a particular attention for the logistics and infrastructures since they are key elements to support industrialization, together with a sustainable social and economic growth. Indeed, a better use of today existing infrastructures is becoming urgent, in order to optimize the use of natural resources. From this point of view the GNSS applications are considered a valid help in many fields, and in particular in the transportation sector. In fact, a constantly increasing demand for better services and logistics in the Region is going to require more and more solutions that make use of GNSS based applications.
South East Asia will be in a very peculiar condition in the next years. The region will be covered by many different systems, both global and regional: GPS (USA – Global), Galileo (EU – Global), GLONASS (Russia – Global), Compass\Beidou (China – Global), QZSS (Japan – Regional), GAGAN (India – Regional). South East Asia will experience the multi-GNSS environment at its edge. Obviously, the countries that are currently investing in GNSSs/RNSSs are trying to expand their influence in order to boost the benefits for their own national systems. The aim is to increase the market share of the national companies involved in the setting up of the systems, helping them to export their technologies to other countries. From this point of view, South East Asia will be one of the most interesting areas of the world.
On the other side, the ASEAN countries are investing in the space sector, in order to acquire competences in the field. It is indeed in this light that the Vietnamese Government just approved “A Strategy for Satellite and Space Technology Study and Application to 2020” in which GNSS is one of the major concerns. Other ASEAN countries already have a space policy and national space agencies, such as Malaysia or Thailand. GNSS technology is becoming more and more attractive, how it is demonstrated by the increasing number of international conferences and symposiums in the region.
However, in this highly competitive framework Europe needs to invest, with a long term perspective, in building strong relations, promoting valuable cooperation in order to reaffirm its role of reliable international partner. As stated in the Regional Programming for “Asia Strategy document 2007-2013”, in this period Europe will focus on three priority areas: a) Support to Regional Integration; b) Policy and Know-How Cooperation; c) Support to Uprooted People.
The creation of the NAVIS - GNSS Collaboration Centre is supporting joint EU-South-East Asia research and higher education activities and perfectly fits into the second priority listed above.
Growing NAVIS has an expanded Consortium and explicitly aims to enlarge the activities of the Centre to the ASEAN member States.
Collaborations with other FP7 projects focused on Asia Pacific region
In order to maximize the impact of European GNSS in Asia, G-NAVIS has a strong link with GNSS.Asia, another FP7 project funded by the same call. For more information about this collaboration, plase check the news section of the G-NAVIS website. The GNSS.asia project has the objective to develop and implement GNSS industrial cooperation activities between the European Union and China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Taiwan focusing on the downstream sector (applications and receivers).