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Ground-breaking satellite projects will transform society

A scheme to use satellites to support the roll out of charging points for Electric Vehicles is one of eight new projects announced by the Science Minister Sam Gyimah today.

The electric vehicle charging point project, led by Energeo Ltd working with Bournemouth Borough Council, will combine satellite imagery, Open Data, and Machine Learning to deliver an interactive map based user interface. This will help the council identify charge point requirements via visualisation of different features and influences on EV roll out, such as existing charge points, residential driveway availability and size, and footpath width and potential obstructions.

The eight new projects are part of the UK Space Agency’s Space for Smarter Government Programme, which demonstrates the potential of using satellite technology to solve challenges faced by the public sector.

Satellite data and applications which use space have the potential to change the way the public sector works, leading to better services and lower costs. This in turn could help boost the growth of the UK space sector, which is already worth £13.7 billion to the economy and provides around 40,000 jobs.

The announcement comes on the day the Space Industry Act received Royal Assent, which will unlock an exciting era of British space innovation, exploration and investment. The Act will enable the first commercial space launch from UK soil in history, creating the potential for hundreds of highly-skilled jobs and bringing in billions of pounds for the economy.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:
“These projects demonstrate the potential of satellite technology to benefit life on Earth with innovative solutions to challenges ranging from monitoring plastic waste in the sea to supporting the roll out of charge points for electric cars.

“As set out in our Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency is working together with industry to ensure the UK thrives in the commercial space age. The Space for Smarter Government Programme is transforming the way the public sector works. It will stimulate innovation and growth, while helping the public sector save money and improve decision making.”

The Environment Agency will collaborate on two projects, one of which deploys satellites and drones in the battle against marine waste and the other will use satellite data to monitor flood defences in the Thames Estuary.

Dr John Kupiec, Environment Agency’s Innovation Manager, said:

“The Environment Agency is delighted to support the development of these innovative projects that will help us work towards protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development.

“The Government’s 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment highlighted the problem of plastics in the environment – particularly in marine and coastal environments. By using Earth Observation and other novel technologies we hope to accomplish our common goals in reducing plastic and other waste pollution.”

The UK Space Agency is providing training to policymakers as well as access to data, wider expertise and market capability as part of the programme. Working alongside public sector partners, academia and industry can help bring new satellite applications to market to meet UK needs.

The full list of projects, which have received a combined total of more than £700,000 in funding, can be found here.