EU to launch Galileo-based emergency alert system

March 11, 2024  - By
Image: EUSPA

Image: EUSPA

The European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) has published a technical document detailing the main characteristics of the new Galileo Emergency Warning Satellite Service (EWSS).

According to the document, Galileo satellites will transmit emergency warning messages directly to Galileo-enabled smartphones and other navigation devices. The satellites will offer information related to the hazard, such as type, severity, expected onset and duration, as well as the location of the affected area and instructions to follow. The alert content will be generated by national authorities and transmitted to Galileo for broadcast.

“With this new document, some of our key stakeholders can already start to work with this new service,” said Fiametta Diani, head of market, downstream and innovation at EUSPA. “Civil protection authorities in the member states can start to prepare for how they will manage the alert messages they will send via Galileo. The same goes for the receiver and chipset communities, who will have to process this message.”

In 2023, EUSPA began testing the EWSS in different locations in Europe. “We have run trials in Toulouse and in Germany, specifically with a simulated explosion,” Diani said, “like what you might see with an industrial accident. We have also tested a tsunami alert in Cyprus.” The Union is developing the tsunami application together with Japanese partners. EUSPA has also finished flood testing in Belgium and Luxembourg.

EUSPA plans to launch the new EWSS in 2025, Diani said. “As for the receivers, we are working to get our chipset and receiver industry ready,” she said, adding that this process is also supported by the Fundamental Elements program.

Fundamental Elements is an EU funding mechanism that supports the research and development of European GNSS-enabled chipsets, receivers and antennas. The projects are part of the overall strategy for European GNSS market uptake, said EUSPA.

The member states and the correlating national civil protection authorities will initiate warnings, according to Ignacio Alcantarilla Medina of the European Commission.

“[Authorities] will send a message to the Galileo system, and then Galileo will transmit that message through its satellite signals to the users,” he said.

According to EUSPA, the service is designed to be used worldwide to serve as a backup to the already existing mobile network warning systems.

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