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Winners of the ESA/EIT Space For Rail Competition

Patrick McLoughlin, UK Secretary of State for Transport, announced, during a speech at RailLive 2014, the largest outdoor rail event in the UK, that two prizes of €50,000 have been awarded in the Space for Rail competition. Launched in October 2013, the competition was initiated and co-funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the UK rail industry’s Enabling Innovation Team (EIT) with support of the Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Technology Strategy Board. Prizes will be used to fund two feasibility studies as part of ESA’s Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) programme.

The rail industry faces a challenge to be able to technically deliver a railway with more capacity and customer satisfaction but for less cost and carbon. To support this, the FutureRailway team is working with a range of partners to help de-risk business solutions and technologies by helping move them from research through prototype to demonstration and eventual implementation.

The Space for Rail prize competition sought outline proposals to develop services for the UK rail industry involving two or more satellite-based systems, such as communications, navigation and/or remote sensing, which would be integrated with conventional non-space systems. The aim is to develop solutions that either meet rail industry current challenges and needs which cannot otherwise be fulfilled, or improve upon existing solutions.

The two winners were; University of Birmingham (UK) with Avanti Communications Ltd (UK) and VTOL Technologies Ltd

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VTOL Technologies Ltd - winners of the ESA/EIT Space for Rail Competition