11, December 2020

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO10596
Open Date: 10/12/2020
Closing Date: 05/02/2021 13:00:00

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 20.154.27
Prog. Ref.: NAVISP Phase 2 E1
Budget Ref.: E/0365-40 – NAVISP Phase 2 E1
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Technology Domains: RF Systems, Payloads and Technologies / Radio Navigation Systems/Subsystems / Ground Receivers
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Navigation
Department: Strategy and Programme Department
Division: NAVISP Programme Office
Contract Officer: Wurzel, Loretta Elisabeth
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 10/12/2020
Update Reason: Tender issue

Robotics, machine control, industry automation require high accuracy positioning, as well as very robust PNT to support autonomous operations. Relative motion sensors (e.g. IMU) are key to complement GNSS in case of outage or for enhanced robustness and sustainedhigh accuracy. In open sky, the state-of-the-art of GNSS and IMU provide good performance. However, cost-efficient IMUs still face shortcomings in filling the gaps of long GNSS outages (urban, large factory plants, canopy, etc.) or in supporting very high-accuracypositioning.Intense RD efforts (e.g. DARPA) are invested to prepare the next generation of inertial navigation systems (INS) with the goal of achieving chip-scale sized sensors that simultaneously are able to meet the performances of tactical grade IMUs. For multiple reasons, the outcome of those investments might not reach the industrial and commercial markets until in 10 years or more, and the cost of high performance IMUs will remain high.Meanwhile, composite motion sensors, which combine multiple low-cost technologies, could provide a relevant path to satisfy the growing need for cost-efficient, high-performance INS in domains such as robotics in industry automation, machine control and high-precision agriculture automation. Typically, camera and mmWave radar are able toprovide relevant motion measurements (odometry as well as attitude). Such technologies are individually reaching a good TRL level,the challenge lies in their cost-efficient integration, tuned to the adequate use cases, which requires advanced sensor fusion, forwhich Artificial Intelligence seems to be the most suitable technique to apply. The objective of the proposed activity is the development of the next generation of motion sensors based on massive (low-cost) sensor fusion and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, to enhance calibration and sensor fusion. Design and performance will be tuned for integration with GNSS in use cases requiringrobust, high-accuracy positioning (e.g. robots used in Precision Agriculture or in logistics on large factory plants outdoors). The tasks to be performed will include:- development and proof of concept of a disruptive composite motion sensor, merging multiple low cost technologies such as mmW radar, camera (attitude/odometry) and low cost MEMS (gyro-, accelero- and baro-meter); – tuning for the targeted uses cases (e.g. machine / robot control operating in challenging environment and seeking robust high accuracy) both interm of multi-sensor architectures and AI-training; – assessment and demonstration of multi-sensor End-to-End performance, representative of the targeted use cases.The main results of the activity will provide:- a breadboard of the developed new composite motion sensor;- results of test trials and benchmark with state-of-the-art GNSS/IMU solutions in various environments; – a roadmap towards prototyping and a product, paving the way for industrial products, for instance through activities in NAVISP Element 2.

If you wish to access the documents related to the Invitation to Tender, you have to log in to the ESA Portal.