Galileo is a sophisticated European project for global satellite navigation. Together with the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA) is currently creating a fully autonomous, satellite navigation system that is available globally and civilian-run. It will allow European independence from the USA’s Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia’s GLONASS Russia, both of which are militarily controlled.
But Galileo doesn’t just compete with the two systems, it also complements them. It is based on the same core technology as GPS, is compatible and interoperable with civilian GPS signals, and together with GPS offers much better accuracy and availability. If users have the right receivers, they will be able to determine their position based on the signals of all available navigation satellites. What's more, Galileo allows real-time tracking with 1-metre precision.
Five special services
Once fully operational, Galileo will offer five special services worldwide: Open Service (OS); Commercial Service (CS); Safety of Life Service (SoL); Public Regulated Service (PRS); and Search and Rescue Service (SAR).
OS results from a combination of open signals which users can receive free of charge. In terms of positioning and timing services, its quality exceeds existing services. Free services of public interest will be built on OS and offer positioning, navigation and time synchronisation.
CS provides additional information for highly accurate positioning and will be subject to fees and access control. It is intended for professional end users including those in surveying, network synchronisation or fleet management. This service also includes limited transmission capacity for service centres to send messages to users (around 500 bits per second). Also new is the provision of a service guarantee to users.
SoL is the encrypted service for aviation, shipping and rail.
PRS is a restricted, encrypted and robust service for government-authorised users such as the police, customs, security agencies and emergency centres (112). It assists with the sovereign tasks of the EU Member States. The PRS service must operate continually and in all circumstances, particularly in crisis situations. A key factor of the PRS service is the robustness of its signal, which protects against jamming and spoofing.
SAR makes it possible to receive emergency calls from virtually anywhere in the world in real time, allowing accurate positioning of distress calls within a few meters instead of the current 5 km accuracy. It also allows feedback to be sent back to the distress beacon. The service supports existing SAR systems such as COSPAS-SARSAT.
From April 2018, all new vehicles sold in Europe will need to be equipped with a satellite-based Galileo navigation system, as stipulated in the Regulation on the eCall emergency call system.
The European Commission is currently investigating the possibility of recommending or mandating the use of Galileo to better locate a person who has called the e112 emergency service (independent of eCall).
From June 2019, all trucks sold in Europe will have to be equipped with Galileo-based, intelligent tachographs manufactured by Continental, Stoneridge, Intellic, Actia, etc.
For detailed information about Galileo-enabled devices, click here.