News & Events

24. January 2014

Precise Navigation Innovations on EURATHLON 2013

From September 23rd to 27th the European Union funded event EURATHLON took place in Berchtesgaden, Germany. This robotics competition strives to set up realistic challenges that have to be overcome by the participating teams. Abilities that are necessary for outdoor- and off-road robot vehicles to succeed in crisis scenarios should be developed and compared in a sporty competition. Relevant scenarios could be nuclear or chemical disasters or terroristic activities like improvised explosive devices (IED).


Developer as well as users of autonomous robot technology came together from the whole European area. The event gave them the scarce and valued opportunity to test their solutions under realistic and partially “super-realistic” conditions. These conditions included the interaction of multiple robots. This is a request that is often unusual in the “everyday work” of the robotic systems, which are normally designed to act as autonomous as possible. And of course it is not only of high importance for joint actions that each robotic element knows its exact position. This positioning is done via Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) like GPS, GLONASS or the upcoming European Galileo, nowadays. As therefore satellite navigation is a highly important topic for the developers of outdoor robotic systems, IFEN staff Dr. Thomas Pany gave a speech on “Synthetic Aperture Processing for Deep GNSS/INS Integration” as part of a workshop that targeted positioning under degraded GNSS signal conditions. Dr. Pany explained that IFEN GmbH is working (with support of the University of Applied Science in Graz/Austria) on a prototype to deeply couple a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver with an Inertial Navigation System (INS). This coupling is based on an innovative signal processing scheme that significantly improves the GNSS tracking reliability and accuracy under degraded signal conditions. The method is implemented in IFEN’s real-time PC based software receiver SX-NSR and works with GPS, Galileo and GLONASS signals. Multiple frequencies are generally supported. During the presentation Dr. Pany described the principle in more detail and showed some initial results.


As IFEN operates the GATE Galileo Test- and Development Environment in Berchtesgaden, they also exhibited a scenic model of the Berchtesgaden valley. It also showed the positions of the eight transmitting stations atop of surrounding mountains. They enable realistic positioning with Galileo signals already today – without an operative Galileo system working in orbit yet. The possibility to test and develop their Galileo skills in GATE Berchtesgaden was of high interest for many of the participants.


The exhibition booth was provided by the “Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft Berchtesgadener Land mbH” (Association for the Economic Development of the Berchtesgaden Area, WFG-BGL, who we would like to thank on this behalf.