Irish start-up Vicinity Systems wins European sat nav award

26 Oct 2012

Con Costello, founder and chief technologist at Vicinity Systems (foreground), after receiving the regional prize at the Galileo Masters in Munich, Germany

Irish start-up Vicinity Systems has been awarded a regional prize in the Galileo Masters, the European Satellite Navigation Competition, for its technology that is aiming to increase the driving range of electric vehicles.

It is the first time an Irish company has won a prize in the international competition, which was set up in 2004 to recognise the best ideas in the field of satellite navigation. The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission also back the competition.

At the awards ceremony in Munich, Germany, yesterday, Vicinity Systems was also shortlisted for the ESA Innovation Prize, as well as being named runner-up for the global technology award.  

Founded by Con Costello, Vicinity Systems is developing technology that is aiming to increase the driving range of electric vehicles. By integrating it with in-car sat-nav systems, the idea is the start-up’s technology will calculate the most efficient route to a destination in order to conserve battery power.

Costello said that receiving the award was a great validation of Vicinity Systems’ technology.

“Electrics cars are the future; the US alone is spending US$2.4bn in the development of electric vehicle technologies. It’s important that Irish companies get in early and secure intellectual property,” he said.

As for the European Satellite Navigation Competition, this year it received more than 400 entries from around the globe.
The Irish competition is co-ordinated by the National Space Centre in Midleton, Co Cork. The centre is involved in emerging satellite technology projects, including the development of S-AIS and marine mapping projects with the ESA. The National Space Centre has also provided technical support services for Europe’s Galileo satellite programme.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic