H2020 HELIOS and its coordinator Orolia, a global leader in emergency readiness and response, have announced the launch in Europe and the United States of an upgrade to its McMurdo FastFind 220 and Kannad SafeLink Solo personal location beacons (PLB) to include the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).
The PLBs are the world’s first to utilise Galileo’s capabilities and are the first in a series of new solutions coming from the EU-funded Helios project, led by Orolia, which was set up to leverage the power of Galileo. The launch follows approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and continues Orolia’s innovation and leadership role in safety electronics.
“We are doubly proud of this achievement. The fact that this is the world’s first Galileo-enabled personal location beacon is in itself a significant milestone. That it comes as a result of a Horizon 2020 project managed by the GSA makes it even more satisfying. The GSA actively supports beacon manufacturers in implementing Galileo differentiators into their products and we are delighted to see these efforts deliver tangible results,” said European GNSS Agency (GSA) Executive Director Carlo des Dorides.
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Orolia multi-constellation capable beacons work with a wider range of satellites, offering increased global coverage and supporting accelerated rescue. Location detection is more precise because the beacons receive coordinates from both Galileo and the GPS constellations, and signals can even be detected in difficult locations, such as canyons.
Pole to Pole coverage
Galileo satellites make up part of the MEOSAR system, the next generation of the Cospas-Sarsat international Search and Rescue satellite system that has helped to save over 43,000 lives since 1982. With the launch of four new satellites in July 2018, the Galileo constellation now consists of 26 satellites (22 with SAR payload), from a planned 30, with a target of 2020 for completion of the network. The system launched in December 2016, allowing technology with Galileo-enabled receivers to use signals provided by the constellation for positioning, navigation and timing.
“We are thrilled to be launching our upgraded PLBs in the European and U.S. markets,” said Chris Loizou, Vice President of Maritime at Orolia. “The combination of both Galileo and GPS GNSS capability means that our customers will benefit from coverage that spans from the North to the South Pole. We work tirelessly to push the boundaries of product innovation and, ultimately, to give people the best chance of being rescued in an emergency situation.”
The McMurdo FastFind and Kannad SafeLink PLBs are part of Orolia’s comprehensive search and rescue ecosystem and join the McMurdo SmartFind G8 and Kannad SafePro series emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) as the first Galileo capable rescue beacons. Orolia’s McMurdo brand builds, integrates and tests products as part of a live search and rescue system. This ensures greater cohesion between distress signal transmission and reception so that beacon owners can feel confident that their signals will get to search and rescue authorities quickly.
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