Yesterday the European Parliament hosted a public hearing: "Galileo/EGNOS Applications and Services - The way forward". The hearing included representatives from European Institutions and industry debating the issues and implications needed to foster the optimal economic and social use of both Galileo and EGNOS. Some interesting speeches:
Mrs Etelka Barsi-Pataky (European Parliament Member - ITRE Committee) talked about the legislative framework of Galileo saying that EU legislative processes are difficult to apply to projects like this. Galileo is the first european-led infrastructure. She underlined the importance of the Galileo Insteristitutional Panel (GIP), established after the failure of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). She also excluded further funding beyond the €3.4 bl already available..
Mr Raymond Rosso, for the French Galileo interministerial coordination stressed his speech on EGNOS and its applications. He say the EGNOS validation precess will finish in march 2009 ( "it will" not "it should). Even Mr Rosso underlined the new role of the Commission and the importance of the GIP.
Mr Edgar Thielman, European Commission - DG TREN, exposed some impressive economic forecast. The GNSS market should be about €20 bn in 2008, €70 bn in 2001 and a huge €300-450 bn in 2025!! Galileo is not alone and the Russian and Chinese competitor are just around the corner.. So , Mr Thielmann underlined the need to speed up the whole project.
Mr Pedro Pedreira, Executive Director of GSA, talked about the new GNSS market, still at the beginning. He hope in a deeper collaboration between the agencies involved in the european GNSS. Pedreira confirmed EGNOS upcoming operational phase: in the first half of 2009 the system will be operational and the Open Signal will be available, in 2010 the Safety of Life service for civilian aviation will be ready.
The other speeches were mostly on already known applications..
What did we learn form this public hearing?
1) The European Parliament and the Commission are very interested in GNSS. The GIP growing importance is an evident signal.
2) GSA future is still uncertain.
3) EU is really interested in GNSS mass market applications and products, less in research.
4) EGNOS should be available soon (we really hope so!) and it should become the market driver for the new GNSS services provided by the future Galileo.