The KYNEO project is a case study on the impact that the European GNSS Agency’s (GSA) various funding mechanisms have on the development of the European GNSS market.
Ever wonder what kind of impact the GSA’s various funding mechanisms have on the development of the European GNSS market? The essential role this funding plays is seen first-hand in the rapid advancement of the KYNEO project. Winner of the 2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition’s (ESNC) GSA Special Prize, the project involves the development of cheap, flexible Galileo and EGNOS-enabled modules that allow ubiquitous positioning data for applications in the Internet of Things (IoT).
According to project coordinator Rafael Olmedo, the project’s concept is an open innovation platform for what he refers to as the ‘GNSS of Things’. “The idea came from what I perceived as a need to be able to fast-prototype applications and devices in the rapidly developing IoT field,” he says. “What I saw was that many different products and services were looking for similar solutions for positioning that can be flexibly adapted in different contexts – something particularly true for developers.”
His solution is KYNEO, an Arduino-compatible board that allows developers to rapidly and flexibly build their own solutions based on open-source software. Arduino is an open-source electronic prototyping platform for the creation of interactive electronic objects. “There is a huge development community for digital electronic products out there, and KYNEO has been developed to serve as a great positioning tool for this community,” says Olmedo.
A multi-constellation solution
As the 2015 winner, the project received an initial payment of EUR 20 000, with an option for additional funding. “Thanks to the GSA Special Prize, we have successfully developed a new version of the KYNEO unit,” says Olmedo. The new version includes several improvements to the GNSS firmware and electronic components, including more effective power consumption. In addition to the updated unit, the project also updated its website, which now makes new software tools and examples available for developers.
One of the project’s main achievements is the addition of multi-constellation capability to the KYNEO unit. “Not only have we implemented differential corrections into the unit, making it possible to get EGNOS corrections through the radio module – very useful when there is no EGNOS coverage – but now, with the launch of Galileo Initial Services, the unit can also receive Galileo signals,” adds Olmedo.
New market opportunities
In addition to its focus on preparing the supporting tools for developers – the project’s main customer base – Olmedo says the project has identified other potential customers, including technical universities and research and development (R&D) institutes who view KYNEO as an attractive unit for research. The team is also working on creating smaller enclosed devices for use by engineers and others who lack a developer’s GNSS programming background. For example, the project is currently developing a customised solution for a professional football coach, who will use KYNEO to measure the kinematics and positioning of players during training.
Moving towards commercialisation
However, before any of these markets can be fully exploited, the unit needs to comply with all relevant regulations. As the certification process is a complex and lengthy one, the project has contracted with a Spanish consultancy, for which it plans to allocate some of the additional funding from the GSA Special Prize towards.
“In this next phase, we turn our focus on getting the unit certified and implementing the business development support required for commercialisation at the national and international levels,” says Olmedo. “Thanks to the additional funding coming from the GSA Special Prize, I am confident that we will achieve all of our objectives.”
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