Automated Road Transport

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EMITS reference



Closing date


Kick-start Activity

24. April 2017


Automated road transport is considered one of the major key technology influencing and shaping the future mobility and quality of life since it addresses many of the challenges of today's transport system such as road safety, to reduce accidents caused by human errors, efficiency, to increase transport system efficiency and reduce time in congested traffic, environment, to decrease vehicles emissions, and comfort, to increase accessibility to city centres. Several level of automation are envisaged from partially automated driving, meaning that the system assumes some control of the vehicles, to fully automated. A complementary aspect to automation is the connectivity where connected vehicles (cars, trucks or buses) can exchange information wirelessly with other vehicles and infrastructure and also with the vehicle manufacturer or third-party service providers.


Kick-start Activities elaborate the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services exploiting one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology).

This call for Kick-start Activities is dedicated to the theme "Automated Road Transport", which means that is open to ideas for services addressed to local authorities, infrastructure/road operators, public transport operators, logistics companies, private drivers, fleet operators and other relevant stakeholders in this sector. Such services can cover topics as:

  • Managing a network of automated road vehicles
  • Monitoring automated trucks driving system
  • Providing optimal decision support systems for automated road transport from big data analytics and optimisation
  • Resilience of the automated road transport to cyber attacks on vehicles and infrastructure

Exploitation of space-based data and technology is key for the proposed Kick-start Activity theme, with the following considerations:

  1. Satellite Navigation (SatNav) is essential to provide an accurate location to track & trace automated vehicles, to guide to target locations, to operate traffic management systems and others. SatNav can also enable location-based services such as to geo-localise points of interest, to enable autonomous car sharing, parking and fare payment. In addition to GNSS receivers, wireless connections, radars, lidars and other sensors installed on the automated vehicles will enable them to monitor the surroundings, to talk to each other and with the infrastructure in real-time and respond to changes instantaneously.
  2. Satellite Communications (satcoms) is essential to ensure global communications for any of the above data services enabled by SatNav whenever the terrestrial communications are absent or not reliable. In case of network failures or cyber-attacks targeting terrestrial communication, satcoms may be used to increase communication network robustness and resilience.
  3. Earth Observation imagery can be used to provide the maps required by the traffic management, as well as evaluate the conditions on the ground, assess changes and provide key data for monitoring and forecasting the air pollution, etc. Earth Observation derived data are used to provide meteorological information such as wind speed and direction, humidity, and others that have to be taken into account into the models contributing to traffic management services.

Authorisation of funding

For the Thematic Call on "Automated Road Transport", the following ESA Member State have already made funding available: Austria, Germany, Norway, Luxembourg, Poland and the United Kingdom.

In case you intend to submit a proposal for a Thematic Call and your company/organisation resides in another country, you are encouraged to contact the National Delegation.

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Funding Scheme

Kick-start Activities resulting from thematic calls are funded at 75% by the Agency for a maximum amount of €60K per contract.

Funded participation to the Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) Kick-start Activities is open to any public organisation, commercial client worldwide or space company (be it as federation of users, public body or non-governmental organisation) residing in any of the ESA Member States that are participating to the IAP Programme (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

Individual ESA Member States have already made funding available for specific Thematic Calls on Kick-start Activities. For more details, please refer to the section Authorisation of Funding above.

In case you intend to submit a proposal for a Thematic Call and your company/organisation resides in another country, you are encouraged to contact the National Delegation.

ESA Tender Information

Responding to a Kick-start Activity requires the submission of a Proposal (maximum 20 pages in length), which will be evaluated according to ESA regulations and procedures. If several proposals of sufficient quality are present, the Agency can place parallel contracts, subject to funding availability from the relevant Member States.

The Call for Proposals on Kick-start Activities is issued on EMITS (AO8872), including the official tender documentations (letter of invitation, proposal template, draft contract, tender clarifications and opening/closing dates for each Thematic Call for Proposals).

For each individual theme, dedicated tender clarifications will be posted in EMITS to provide information on the National Delegations that have committed financial support to each Thematic Call for Proposal.

If you wish to download the official tender documentations from EMITS, you need to register as potential bidder on esa-star first.

Registration as Bidder

Prior to submitting a Full Proposal, the Prime and all subcontractors must register as potential bidders via esa-star. This process needs to be started as soon as possible, as it will take time to complete.