Galileo gives the EU its own global navigation system, Deutsche Telekom announces AutoLinQ and more…

Galileo gives the EU its own global navigation system, Deutsche Telekom announces AutoLinQ and more…

ESA signed three contracts this week, one with OHB to manufacture 14 satellites (the first to be delivered by July 2012), a second with Arianespace for launch services starting in 2012, and a third with Thales Alenia Space for industrial system support activities.

“Galileo will be Europe's own global navigation satellite system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control,” said ESA in a statement. ESA and the EU took control of Galileo in 2007 for the EU to have an independent global navigation satellite system. The system is expected to be fully operational by 2013 and plans to be interoperable with the US’s GPS and Russia’s GLONASS. “A user will be able to take a position with the same receiver from any of the satellites in any combination,” the ESA statement said.

To showcase more of the system’s features, the EU has organized the Galileo Application Days in Brussels from March 3 to 5. Participants will witness live demonstrations of state-of-the-art applications being developed for Galileo. This week Septentrio became the first original equipment manufacturer to release a receiver, the AsteRx3, formatted to provide full access to GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo signals. “With the evolution of GNSS systems, more and more users demand the possibility to prepare for the benefits these new signals and systems bring,” says Peter Grognard, managing director of Septentrio.

The Russian government announced that three new satellites are now operational in the GLONASS system, bringing the total number of active satellites to 18. The three GLONASS-M satellites were launched in December of last year and should add greater coverage and accuracy to Russia’s global navigation satellite system. Russia plans to launch two more satellites into the system in March.

Google versus Apple
Google responded to Apple’s announcement of the iPad with a reminder that later this year it plans to release netbooks based on the Chrome Operating System. Netbooks, like the iPad, will bring the Internet into user’s hands, allowing for the perusal of books, articles, sites, and chat rooms on a handheld screen. Nonetheless, industry experts expect the iPad to challenge Google’s master plan for Google search and Google apps to be available on every device connected to the Web.

Deutsche Telekom’s AutoLinQ
Deutsche Telekom announced AutoLinQ, an apps-oriented system that will deliver Internet apps to all vehicles by way of an Android-based on-board computer. AutoLinQ will be connected to Deutsche Telekom’s mobile network and will provide drivers with the ability to download music, read the news, and craft Tweets and e-mails, all without removing their hands from the wheel or their eyes from the road. The system will be equipped with voice recording technology as well as an online address book connected to the navigation system.

LTE and 4G growth
A new report from the market research firm Juniper Research suggests that the telecom industry is set for a significant rebound after a dreary slide during the recession. The number of Long Term Evolution (LTE) or 4G networks will expand rapidly in the coming years, reaching more than 100 million subscribers by 2014, the report suggests. Furthermore, the report indicates that mobile carriers will profit from the momentum created by Android devices and augmented reality smartphones, which have stimulated much-needed network investment toward the telecom industry.

Switzerland-based provider of GPS and wireless semiconductors, software, and receivers u-blox purchased 15 patents and patent applications from AirSemiconductor Ltd in the UK. The patents will provide u-blox and its GPS engines a stronger position in the market for battery-powered GPS applications. Specifically, the patents will expand u-blox’s ability to provide instantaneous real-time and historical position capture.

T-Mobile UK and Orange UK merger
The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has called into question the proposed merger between T-Mobile UK and Orange UK, stating that the joint venture possibly threatens fair competition in the mobile telecommunications industry in the UK. If the OFT decides that the merger is indeed a monopoly, it will refer the two companies to the Competition Commission for an in-depth investigation. The merger was announced in September 2009 and, according to the companies, would lead to operational cost savings of £445 million a year starting in 2014.

The Lamborghini Raw Materials Project
Finally, the Munich University of Applied Scientists announced the Lamborghini Raw Materials Project, an event that challenges automotive designers and engineers to design the hybrid supercars of the future. The goal is to come up with electric vehicles or hybrid cars that embrace all the advances of the digital and environmental age with sleek, sporty designs. One participant, Slavche Tanevsky, has created the Lamborghini Madura, the world’s first hybrid Lamborghini, complete with an electric engine and side panels that utilize laser beams when breaking. Tanevsky hopes Lamborghini embraces the concept and envisions it scheduled for a release date of 2016.

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