Tech start-up Vicinity Systems was yesterday named the Irish winner at the European Space Agency’s satnav technology awards, the Galileo Masters, which were presented in Munich.

As well as winning the regional prize, Vicinity Systems was shortlisted for the ESA Special Prize for Innovation, and was runner up for the Global Technology award.

The technology under development by Vicinity Systems increases the driving range of electric vehicles.  Through integration with in-car satnav, the technology analyses all potential routes to a destination and calculates the most power efficient, taking account of mountains, traffic and other obstacles that consume battery power.

The Galileo Masters, also known as the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC), is an international technology innovation competition that recognises the best ideas in the field of satellite navigation, the technology that powers in-car satnav systems.  The competition seeks to gather outstanding solutions for commercial applications of satellite navigation and promote individual ideas by offering prizes.  In 2012 there were over 400 entrants from around the world.

Receiving the award, company founder and chief technologist Con Costello described it as a great validation of the company’s 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.”