Satellite tech trialled by MIAL members

Monday, 04 December, 2017

Satellite tech trialled by MIAL members

Satellite-based positioning technology will be trialled by members of Maritime Industry Australia Limited (MIAL).

These members will be among the first businesses in the world to test the technology, which will improve accuracy from the current five to 10 metres down to less than 10 centimetres.

It is part of a trial being funded by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said he was excited to have MIAL and its more than 60 members on board for the SBAS trial.

Speaking at a gathering of its members in Canberra, Minister Canavan said MIAL’s involvement would see SBAS technologies tested all around the Australasian region, from Darwin to Antarctica and Broome to Christchurch.

“From resources companies like BP and Rio Tinto to the cruise line Carnival, MIAL’s diverse membership gives us the opportunity to trial SBAS technologies in a range of different environments,” he said.

“From decreasing the danger of navigating through congested ports and waters to potentially enabling ships to load more cargo by providing precise data on the location of keels relative to channel floors, the applications of these technologies are almost limitless.

“We know the key to understanding their full potential is to work closely with the businesses and organisations that can gain a competitive advantage from using them.”

As part of the SBAS trial, MIAL members will have access to two technologies being tested for the first time ever.

“In September, we switched on a second-generation SBAS (SBAS-2) signal at Lockheed Martin’s uplink station in Uralla. It is the first time anywhere in the world that SBAS-2 signals have been transmitted. Australia is also the first country in the world to trial precise point positioning corrections integrated into an SBAS service,” said Canavan.

“Many countries round the world already use first-generation SBAS, which provides accuracies of about half a metre. We are trialling not only this but also technology that provides accuracies down to 10 centimetres.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said that while there was a lot to be gained from better positioning accuracy, all transport sectors would benefit from the improved integrity and availability provided by SBAS.

“For Australia to keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to transport, we cannot have any black spots in our positioning capability. Black spots not only make technological developments like the autonomous cars or ships impossible but also represent a safety risk,” he said.

The SBAS trial is being managed by Geoscience Australia in partnership with the global technology companies GMV, Inmarsat and Lockheed Martin. The Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) is managing the industry projects which will trial, evaluate and report on the benefits and applications relevant to their business and sector.

All data analysis for this project will be conducted by the CRCSI; the $250,000 project funding includes $30,000 to cover the data analysis costs.

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