Advancing aviation tracking is crucial for enhancing travel safety, improving fuel efficiency, and ensuring airline security. The current system, known as ADS-B, has been in operation for around 15 years but faces challenges in widespread implementation in all regions and air spaces.
ADS-B relies on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for global positioning, which can be unreliable, jammed, or even excluded from an aircraft’s ADS-B broadcast. While ADS-B has increased visibility and situational awareness for flights, it relies on ground- and space-based receivers transmitting on a single signal to detect aircraft. In remote regions such as over oceans or mountains, ground coverage for geolocating planes is lacking.
Two major challenges for ADS-B are high installation costs and GNSS data reliability. GNSS signals can be jammed, and accurate reporting of aircraft location depends on the cooperation of aircraft operators.
To address these challenges, Spire SPIR has partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop EURIALO, a more efficient and accurate aviation tracking solution. EURIALO leverages existing telecommunication signals emitted by aircraft to track their locations. It aims to provide persistent, verifiable, and situational awareness through a space-based solution.
EURIALO eliminates the need for GNSS and ground-based radar systems by using multilateration technology. Each satellite in the constellation receives a radio signal from an airplane and records the precise time of arrival. By analyzing the differences in arrival times between satellites, the system accurately determines the aircraft’s location. This method allows for accurate tracking even when geolocation signals are disrupted.
The advantage of EURIALO is its global coverage without the need for additional equipment on every plane. It has the potential to monitor aircraft at all altitudes and can even optimize fuel use and taxiing times for passengers.
The reliability of EURIALO is high, as it offloads traffic to regional ground links during peak travel seasons. This reduces overload on ADS-B terrestrial stations and ensures immediate access to tracking information. It also eliminates the need for costly installations on each aircraft, making it a cost-effective solution for countries like Canada.
Advancing aviation tracking technology is essential for safer travel, improved fuel efficiency, and enhanced security. EURIALO offers a backward-compatible solution that can track, verify, and validate aircraft worldwide using existing onboard technology. By eliminating the reliance on ground-based systems and improving the accuracy of tracking, EURIALO is a significant advancement for the aviation industry.