Septentrio bestows Ecochallenge Award on Leuven University team

June 19, 2017  - By

Septentrio, a designer and manufacturer of GNSS solutions, has awarded the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) Ecochallenge team — the winners of the Galileo Masters (Flanders Challenge) of the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) — with an AsteRx-m UAS receiver for its proposal to use high-precision high-reliability Galileo receivers to modernize inland waterway transport by introducing autonomous technology for the vessels.

The judging panel were impressed with the proposal from the KU Leuven Ecochallenge team to use high-quality Galileo receivers to improve the safety and efficiency on autonomous and existing vessels, which can be retrofitted with the solution.

The ambitious proposal offers a pragmatic step towards rejuvenating inland waterways as a viable ecological alternative for freight transportation, Septentrio said in a news release.

The KU Leuven team also participated in Ecorace Challenge organized by the Flemish Waterways Agency and was both the overall winner in the cargo category as well as being voted the most innovative vessel in 2016.

The AsteRx-m receiver board won by KU Leuven Ecochallenge team is a GNSS solution for applications in autonomous and unmanned vehicles, such as drones. The AsteRx-m UAS offers centimeter-level accuracy at 700 mW using L1/L2 GPS and GLONASS RTK.

The AsteRx-m OEM Board by Septentrio.

“As traffic continues to increase, exploiting inland waterways has been identified as a critical development for easing the pressure on road networks,”  said Jan van Hees, director of business development at Septentrio. “High-precision high-reliability positioning technology using GNSS is an essential element of the development. The KU Leuven team have demonstrated an innovative autonomous small vessel prototype already to move cargo safely and efficiently on the Flemish waterways, and we look forward to continued collaboration as they further develop this technology for bigger ships.”

“The team is very pleased with their performance winning the Septentrio Prize and the Ecorace Challenge together in the same year,” said Geert Waeyenbergh of KU Leuven, who mentored the KU Leuven Ecochallenge team. “The received AsteRx-m will further help research and development of better ships going into the future.”

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