The future of autonomous driving is ‘made-in- Europe’. The European Agency for global navigation satellite systems (GSA) has launched ESCAPE, a three-year and 5.4 M€ project to develop a new positioning device integrating the latest technologies for automated driving.
The project will exploit the services offered by the new European navigation satellite system, Galileo: high precision, high availability and maximum reliability.
ESCAPE is led by the Spanish company FICOSA in collaboration with European partners – GMV from Spain, Renault and IFSTTAR from France, STMicroelectronics and Istituto Superiore Mario Boella from Italy. All partners are important stakeholders in the domain of safety-critical applications for road transportation. By 2019, the ESCAPE consortium will finish the development of an innovative positioning engine tailored to meet the safety requirements expressed by those road transport applications that involve automation and have the potential to harm or damage people and goods.
The first mass-market GPS+Galileo chipset receiver with multi-frequency capability tailored for the automotive sector is a key element of this innovative positioning device. ESCAPE will have a high level of data fusion with different vehicle sensors and the exploitation of key technological differentiators such as the precise point positioning (PPP) service, the potential use of the Galileo ionospheric model, and the provision of an ‘integrity layer’ to assess the degree of trust one can associate with the position information provided by the device. The use of the ‘integrity layer’ is crucial: in safety-critical applications it is often said to be more important to know whether information is reliable or not than the precise information itself.
ESCAPE will set a new paradigm among and across the technologies enabling road vehicle automation, following the vision of the companies that joined the project. The main key phrase 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, 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 and improving the competitiveness of the EU industry by addressing specific user needs in priority market segments.