Under its ARTES 20 “Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP)” programme, the European Space Agency issues an Invitation to Tender for a Feasibility Study validating solutions enabled by space assets addressing the challenges that future cities face.
ESA is challenging industry and service providers to propose innovative services that combine two or more space assets together with terrestrial assets in order to provide commercially sustainable services for Future Cities. These space assets can be Earth Observation, Satellite Navigation, Satellite Communications, and Human Space flight technologies.
Modern day levels of urbanisation are unprecedented and, according to the United Nations, the upward trend is set to continue. Globally, the level of urbanization is expected to rise to 67% in 2050, a level that is already exceeded in the EU. As such, cities around the world share a common set of challenges for their future development and sustainability in terms of mobility, resource management, environment, energy, infrastructure and public buildings, government and citizenship, public safety, health, education, human capital and culture, and all this amid the burgeoning digital economy.
In support of providing measures and services addressing these challenges there is a need for the right information and (communication) infrastructure with the potential to play a major role in this. It is expected that data and communication capabilities of satellites will play an ever more important role in applications that support the development and operation of Future Cities services.
Objective and Scope
With this feasibility study the European Space Agency is looking for solutions integrating the capabilities of at least two space assets (e.g. Satellite Communication, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Spaceflight) with terrestrial assets in order to provide services in support addressing the challenges Future Cities face.
The objective of the feasibility study is to validate the sustainability of the business opportunity for the integrated solution proposed.
The study shall focus on the pro-active development and use of so-called “smart” capabilities that introduce methodologies and services to measure, manage and improve the infrastructure and networks of existing cities through the inclusion and integration of space capabilities. As such it shall provide an information service in support of multiple future city applications.
Based on the activation of users and stakeholders followed by an elaboration of their needs and conditions, the study shall define potential services and the related integrated system(s), as well as validate its technical feasibility and commercial viability. Based on the potential market, the required developments, the risks and critical success factors, the study shall provide a roadmap towards implementation of such services and their sustainable operation. A Proof of Concept is planned for the study to demonstrate the proposed solution on a small scale. The active participation of at least two future cities (or city regions, urban areas) as well as the providers of the future applications will be required.
Conclusion and next steps
In the case of a compelling business case, the feasibility study can be developed into a demonstration project, leading to a pre-operational services. Options include an ESA co-funded demonstration project; access to one of the ESA Business Incubator Centres (BIC) across Europe; business development support by connecting with private investment funding or further partnership opportunities.