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Life-Saving Maritime Rescue Drone Wins European Satellite Navigation Competition 2015

Berlin / Oberpfaffenhofen, 20 October 2015: This evening, the global satellite navigation community gathered at the ddb forum in Berlin to recognise the year's most brilliant innovations in commercial applications of satellite technology. The project POSEIDRON won over the international jury of experts with its remote-controlled multicopter built to support maritime search-and-rescue services - and took home the grand prize ahead of the European Satellite Navigation Competition's 29 other winners.

Mr Enrique Martínez Asensi and his winning team hope to see Poseidron save lives far out at sea when people fall overboard or are involved in shipwrecks that occur during illegal immigration. Custom-developed by Sincratech Aeronautics - a start-up based in Valencia, Spain - POSEIDRON can be launched from ships or platforms under virtually any weather conditions. The multicopter uses thermal cameras and the European positioning service EGNOS to quickly locate people in the water and transmit an alarm to rescue teams along with precise information. Capable of carrying up to 70 kilogrammes, it can also transport a dinghy and deploy it as soon as casualties are found. This is what makes POSEIDRON both faster and more cost-effective than other rescue systems, which in turn significantly increases the chances of survival - particularly in cold waters.

In addition to winning the ESNC's EUR 20,000 grand prize, this innovative project will now have the chance to enter a 12-month incubation programme at one of five Science Parks in Valencia as part of the region's prize.

"For the German Federal Government, the digitalisation of the economy and society at large is one of the most crucial endeavours of all, and satellite-based services are becoming a more and more important part of the process. Through this European competition, we want to support innovative companies in turning their ideas into market-ready products. Today, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to provide this start-up assistance to this year's winners. As many of their predecessors have shown in years past, they will now have excellent chances to enter the market with their winning applications."

Europe's innovation network for satellite navigation

The ESNC set another new participation record this year, with 515 innovations entered by companies from more than 40 different countries around the world. The competition thus more than matched the successes of editions past in increasing its overall figures to 272 winners awarded and 3,343 ideas received from over 10,000 participants throughout its 12 years in existence.

"Time synchronisation and reliable positioning information are essential to today's digital economy: Without corresponding satellite-based services, the development of these and other innovations - including the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communication, and Industry 4.0 - would not be possible", explains Thorsten Rudolph, CEO of ESNC initiator and organiser Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen. "As the ideas submitted to this year's ESNC have shown to impressive effect, it is these forward-thinking technologies in particular that present a great deal of potential waiting to be unleashed by high-tech start-ups."

Under the patronage of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the ESNC presented prizes valued at approximately EUR 1 million in total at its festive Awards Ceremony.

The competition's jury of some 240 renowned experts selected both the overall victor and 30 other regional and special prize winners. With their innovations in areas such as connected mobility, smart cities, tourism, and environmental protection, these entrants demonstrated how fundamental precise satellite navigation signals are to Europe's digital society. Please visit the ESNC website for an overview of this year's winners.

Space-based future technologies and digitalisation

For the first time, the ESNC Awards Ceremony and the concurrent Satellite Masters Conference were officially opened by Dorothee Bär, Parliamentary State Secretary of the BMVI, as part of a high-profile podium discussion. The luminaries deliberating the influence and potential of aerospace applications with regard to digitalisation under the theme "Space 4 Digital Business" included: Matthias Petschke, Director of European Satellite Navigation Programmes, European Commission; Andreas Veispak, Acting Head of Unit I3 Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth, European Commission (EC); Carlo des Dorides, Director of the European GNSS Agency (GSA); Prof Dr Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA); Dr Hubert Reile, Director of Space Research and Technology Programmes, German Aerospace Center (DLR); and Michael Bueltmann, Managing Director at HERE Deutschland GmbH and member of the governing board of Bitkom e.V. Meanwhile, the two-day Satellite Masters Conference gave this year's ESNC winners the opportunity to present their applications to an audience of international experts and share ideas on innovations in space-based technologies and services. www.satellite-masters-conference.eu

Partners of ESNC 2015:
This year's competition was carried out under the patronage of the BMVI with the support of the European Commission. It included a number of topic-specific prizes sponsored by partners including the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Entrants were invited to submit prototypes for the GNSS Living Lab Prize, and the University Challenge was open to students and research assistants. Prizes were also presented by 24 partner regions around the world: Asia, Austria, Baden-Württemberg, Barcelona, Bavaria, Czech Republic, Flanders, France, Galicia, Gipuzkoa, Greece, United Kingdom, Hesse, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Madrid, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, the Valencian Community, and Wallonia.

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Andalucia / Spain Asia Austria Baden-Württemberg / Germany Basque Country / Spain Bavaria / Germany Catalonia / Spain Czech Republic Flanders / Belgium France Galicia / Spain Hesse / Germany
Ireland Israel Lithuania Madrid / Spain The Netherlands Norway Poland Romania Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom Valencian Community / Spain