News: SpaceX's Dragon capsule delays ISS dock after GPS glitch
After a liftoff from the historic Apollo launchpad at Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX's Dragon CRS-10 capsule was forced to wave off an approach to the International Space Station in the middle of its final approach on Wednesday.
CRS-10 is a cargo resupply mission but is also carrying the SAGE III Earth observation experiment and its accompanying Nadir viewing platform. The launch went to plan with the first stage returning for a pinpoint landing back at Cape Canaveral.
However during the planned approach to the ISS errors in an ISS State Vector and a GPS error were flagged by Dragon's flight computer and the erroneous data, required to maintain a proper alignment on approach, resulted in an abort. The Dragon capsule moved away from the station and returned 24hrs later for another attempt, this time everything went as planned and the capsule docked with the station .
CRS-10 will remain docked until late March before reentrering the atmosphere for a splashdown and recovery in the Pacific.
News: The Sat-Nav Is Dead. Long Live GPS-Based Fitness Devices!
We've seen for some time now that as more and more people rely on their smartphones for navigation, the humble 'Sat Nav', or PND (Personal Navigation Device) has slowly been pushed to one side. So what is the future for GPS-based devices?
Pebble's smartwatches moved more towards a fitness theme, so much so that they were bought out by Fitbit at the end of 2016. Garmin have, for some time, made GPS-based fitness watches/trackers and TomTom joined in a few years ago with their Sport watches too.
Garmin's recently published reports show that, for the first time, their fitness sales ($274m) have overtaken their automotive sales ($226m) for the last quarter of 2016. Fitness devices are clearly the future of GPS-based consumer technology. However, the humble Sat Nav still has a role to play with navigation as they generally allow more customisation (like our speed camera database) than the smartphone apps can offer. Just don't expect much in the way of new features - unless it's fitness-based!
I've seen a number of headlines this morning scaremongering that the UK could be locked out of access to Galileo as a result of Brexit.
Galileo is not 'only available to EU countries' as claimed in the article. Galileo is a global network not a regional one, and even if it were a regional system such as those operated by Japan and India, the coverage is dictated by the visibility of the satellite over a country and not defined by an arbitrary border.
The misunderstanding is possibly due to confusion about the services that Galileo will operate. There is the main open service (OS), which is what most users will rely on, and which is open to all world-wide. And then there are three more, an encrypted service (CS), a government service (PRS) and a search and rescue service (SAR).
It's possible that the UK may lose access to the to the PRS service but even that is questionable as the the UK government has indicated it will remain a part of the European Space Agency albeit there will need to be a renegotiation of our financial contributions post Brexit.
TomTom have launched a new traffic data sharing tool that will allow selected customers to share and exchange traffic data with cities, authorities and other stakeholders.
The new Road Event Reporter is designed to allow the sharing of events such as road accidents, roadworks and other incidents etc with TomTom Traffic users and enables authorities and others involved in road management and maintenance to quickly share and disseminate up to date information on issues that affect road usage and traffic patterns.
News: Redflex signs settlement agreement with Chicago
Redflex has agreed to settle a bribery lawsuit with the City of Chicago. In the settlement it agrees to pay $20 million to the city with $10 million payable by 31 December 2017 and the balance payable in instalments by 31 December 2023
The lawsuit follows a bribery scandal which almost saw the end of the company which operates across Asia, Europe and the Americas. Redflex CEO Michael Finn said the agreement marks the end of the company's US struggles. Meanwhile Redflex is still under investigation by authorities in it's home country, Australia.
Redflex won the bid to supply and maintain redlight cameras in Chicago in 2003 and collected more than $400 million in fines between 2003 and 2012. But an investigation by the Chicago Tribune revealed massive bribery in the awarding of the contract by City Hall and further investigations unveiled mismanagement and failed oversight.
In 2016 City Hall manager John Bills was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes and former Redflex CEO Karen Finley and consultant Martin O"Malley were both given shorter federal prison terms.
News: The need for Galileo is now more pressing than ever
Galileo has frequently been described as a costly vanity project. And with the omnipresence of US GPS system it's not hard to see why, until recently at least, justifying the enormous expense of Galileo has been a difficult exercise.
But now, with Donald Trump at the helm, doubts about his isolationist policies are making the case for a separate GNSS network far more compelling. Such services do not exist solely for the benefit of your in-car or smartphone navigation system. They are heavily relied on for precision timing in banking transactions, mobile phone services and power networks. Commercial aircraft are also now making more and more use of them for precision approach and to permit more efficient use of crowded air space.
So it's not hard to see how reliance on a service that could be withdrawn at a moments notice could well have proven to be very short sighted.
Galileo will also provide new services including a global search and rescue service which provides a 2-way link that will notify the sender that their distress signal has been received and, as well as the basic free navigation signal, there will also be a high precision service accessible by paying commercial users.
Speed cameras on the A10 have been approved to continue following a six-month pilot starting last June.
The pilot was given a temporary extension before Christmas, but now The Strategic Road Safety Partnership has approved funding until 2022. The cameras monitor a kilometre stretch of road in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.
News: TomTom and Mappy continue their relationship
TomTom has extended its relationship with a new agreement granting French company Mappy increased access to TomTom traffic data for Europe to align with its current access to TomTom map data.
Mappy licences TomTom data for use in its mobile and browser based maps. Mappy currently has apps available on Google Play and Apple's AppStore. Primarily a POI search engine service, Mappy provides detailed local search for places, shops and services with over 5 million POIs in France and Western Europe.