Galileo Group


Autonomous systems are a key issue in the future of global mobility. With the latest assistance systems, innovations in sensor technology and environment recognition as well as the ongoing digital networking in everyday life, the vision of autonomously acting systems appears to be feasible.


Global Navigation Satellite Systems

A large part of these developments leads back to an increasing use of global navigation satellite systems, abbreviated GNSS, which is accompanied by a rapid diffusion of assistance systems and active safety systems into everyday processes. On the way towards fully autonomously acting systems, different levels of automation are recognised: assisted, partially automated, highly automated, fully automated and driverless.

These levels differ in the amount of human control interventions and control functions as well as in the amount of the systems’ automated interventions and security functions. With an increasing level of automation, human interactions decrease while system interventions increase. All levels share a common requirement of highly accurate positioning data. The more safety functions the system performs, the higher the importance of availability and integrity information of the processed data becomes.


The Galileo group is developing the basis for autonomously driving systems using satellite navigation. Apart from GPS, the European navigation system Galileo is explicitly used as well. The overall focus lays on an improvement of the localisation accuracy by sensor fusion and the integration of external data, which requires reliable and highly available data sources. Another aspect on the way to autonomous driving is the networking of vehicles among one another and their mutual exchange of information. Only by a network of all road users, an autonomous and safe traffic can be realised in the long run. Furthermore, the evaluation and integrity of data plays a key role for these applications in safety-critical fields, e.g. in open environments with mixed traffic. So, disturbing sources and system errors can be detected reliably and control systems can react appropriately.

Methodological approaches of the Galileo group:

  • GNSS based localisation and navigation
  • Networked control systems
  • Sensor fusion

Test and Development Environments

The European satellite system Galileo will not be fully available until 2020. However, the advantages of the Galileo system can be used today already and relevant applications can be developed and validated. Therefore, RWTH Aachen University has access to two so-called Galileo test and development environments, also referred to as GATEs, which allow today already the simultaneous use of GPS and Galileo signals. In these development environments, the Galileo signals are emulated using pseudolite stations:

  Test vehicles on the huge dynamic plane and in the steep bank in the ATC. Copyright: IRT Autonomous test vehicle on the huge dynamic plane of the ATC whith a steep bank in the background.
  • automotiveGATE
    for automobile applications is situated in Aldenhoven and is part of the Aldenhoven Testing Center, ATC.

    The automotiveGATE allows researches for satellite navigation even with the new Galileo signals.
  A locomotive equipped devices passing a parked freight train. Copyright: IRT Lokomotive view during an extensive measurement campaign.
  • railGATE
    for railway applications is situated in the area of the Siemens AG test and validation centre, PCW, Wegberg-Wildenrath, where such validation tests for railway applications can be carried out.

    These validation tests are an important step during each research and development project, especially the technical system evaluation within real application environments.


Multicopters and Buggies

Flying quadrocopter of type Pelican Copyright: IRT A flying quadrocopter of type Pelican. The Copter navigates by means of satellite signals.

The Galileo group uses a range of different test vehicles as research platforms.

Multicopters and testvehicles similar to automobiles, so-called buggies, are part of that range. For these vehicles, methods are developed to enable autonomous, safe flight, respectively networked, autonomous driving.

The research platforms are used in the following applications:

  Two mobile development platforms, called Buggieys, designed at the IRT. Copyright: IRT Two mobile development platforms designed at Institute of Automatic Control, which are equipped with measurement devices and laptops. Both Buggies are coupled virtually to each other.


  • Automated camera multicopter
  • Automated inspection of large, difficult to access objects


  • Autonomously driving, coupled vehicles
  • Localisation within a networked system