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FUNTIMES: Future Navigation and Timing Evolved Signals

The Future Navigation and Timing Evolved Signals (FUNTIMES) project is a European GNSS mission evolution study funded by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 Framework for Research and Development.


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Contract Number: 435/PP/GRO/RCH/15/8384

Project Segment: Multi-modal

Duration: 24 months (January 2016 – January 2018)

Budget: €600 000

Project Partners: Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (Prime Contractor, Germany), École Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (France), Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (Italy)

Project Officer: Dominic Hayes (DEFIS.C.2) dominic [dot] hayesatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (dominic[dot]hayes[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Technical Officer: Matteo Paonni (JRC.E.2) matteo [dot] paonniatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (matteo[dot]paonni[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)



The European Global Satellite Navigation System Galileo moves clear steps forward towards the completion of its space and ground segment infrastructures, after starting providing early services in 2016 and with the plan to achieve the full operational capability (FOC) in 2020. Also the user segment is rapidly expanding, with the increasing introduction of mass market chipsets fully supporting Galileo in a constantly growing number of smartphones.

In this context a strong need for R&D activities in the field of navigation signal engineering has been identified by various Programme's stakeholders. Considering the long process required for introducing new signals and features in a system that is already deployed and finds itself in the exploitation phase, early R&D activities become essential to investigate potential evolutions and new concepts to improve the Galileo signals and services in the short, medium and long term.

Project Objectives

The FUNTIMES study aimed at identifying, studying and recommending mission evolution directions and at preliminary supporting the definition, design and implementation of the future generation of Galileo signals.


The research activities were concentrated in finding technical solutions according to the following high level evolution directions:

  1. Improve the Galileo OS reliability by providing an enhanced authentication service based on both navigation message authentication and spreading code authentication, in such a way that the two solutions can take advantage of their combination.
  2. Improve the sensitivity and/or reduce the complexity of the acquisition of the Galileo OS signals, e.g. by studying the potential introduction of a new signal component for this purpose.
  3. Make use of new concepts and techniques for the delivery of the data messages, to improve the time-to-data performance and robustness.
  4. Study options for providing an effective high data rate component suitable for satellite navigation purposes, e.g. in view of a possible evolution of the signals providing the Galileo Commercial Service.

The project started by defining the key elements characterizing GNSS signals, describing the current signal plans of the major global and regional satellite systems and carrying out a literature survey on the various proposals for the evolution and optimization of navigation signals.

A key role in the project was then played by a specific task on the definition of signal user requirements, which, besides representing an added-value to the project outcomes, were taken into account to select and consolidate the R&D topics defined at the beginning of the study.

For what concerns the core navigation signal R&D activity, various solutions belonging to the following areas were considered: new and evolved modulations and multiplexing techniques, new concepts and techniques for the data message structure, solutions providing enhanced signal authentication, solutions for improved navigation performance.

Expected Impact

The project allowed to study new elements in the field of GNSS signal engineering and to consolidate solutions that were already investigated in the recent literature, paving the way to the evolution of the Galileo current signal plan. The technical solutions offered by this study have been mainly investigated to modernize and complement the current Galileo Open Service signals, but can be also adopted by any other GNSS. The proposed ideas present different levels of maturity. In some cases the solutions are ready to be implemented in the currently deployed systems, while in other cases they would require a corresponding evolution of the space and ground segments of Galileo. Where deemed necessary, specific recommendations for future R&D work in the areas studied in the project were provided.

Disclaimer: The project results represent the views of the consortium. They do not necessarily represent the views of the European Commission and they do not commit the Commission to implementing the results.