ESA: Virtual and Augmented Reality Kick-Start

Key Features

Funding of up to €60,000 per contract available to businesses which intend to develop applications making use of immersive technologies in different industry sectors.

Programme:     ESA

Award:     €60,000 per project

Opens: 15th Jan 2019

Closes: 25th Feb 2019

! This scheme is now closed

Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies are an emerging market and offer a range of new visualisation capabilities allowing to present content in a more descriptive way and to have a more intuitive interaction with it compared to traditional screen based applications. Virtual reality solutions have been growing rapidly outside of the traditional heartland of entertainment and form an exciting presence in many different sectors. By superimposing digital information directly on real objects, environments and maps, Augmented Reality allows people to process the digital and physical information simultaneously, improving their ability to absorb information, make decisions and execute the tasks quickly.

Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies combined with imagery and information processed from Earth Observation satellites, the geo-localisation capabilities from Navigation Satellites e.g. for mobile devices, and a mix of communication technologies including Satellite Communications are considered as appealing for identification and definition of attractive business and consumer applications and services.

Value of Space to Virtual and Augmented Reality

The Kick-start Activity proposed must demonstrate the application of space-based data and technology:

  • Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO): enables global collection of data for production of images, maps, information e.g. to recreate the remote environment, or to provide relevant parameters into the VR/AR environment.
  • Satellite Navigation (SatNav): enables precise positioning and guidance of the user and any type of objects in the VR/AR environment.
  • Satellite Communication (SatCom): provides connectivity for any data and information services whenever terrestrial communication is not reliable enough or absent at all.
  • 5G Networks: including a mix of terrestrial and satellite components will have a key role in the future for delivering the high amount of data required, eventually also in real time.

What ESA Offer

We offer funding and support to companies for business case assessment and the development of new space enabled VR/AR products and services.

  • Zero-equity funding at 75% and up to €60K per activity
  • A personalised ESA consultant
  • Technical & commercial guidance
  • Access to our network of partners
  • Credibility of the ESA brand

What ESA Look For

Kick-start Activities elaborate the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services exploiting one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). This call for Kick-start Activities is dedicated to the theme “Virtual and Augmented Reality”, which means that the call is open to companies which intend to develop applications making use of these immersive technologies in different industry sectors.

Topics of Relevance

VR/AR services for Businesses. Location-Based Augmented Reality allows to overlay digitised information on physical places or objects.Applications utilising this technology allow recognising and retrieving the location of a cellular device along with the acquired data. By offering these solutions, companies can engage the customer’s visual senses e.g. in a far improved and highly immersive shopping experience. Other application domains include the real estate market, infrastructure planning and construction, etc.

VR/AR services for Operations in remote environments. Applications of VR/AR technologies in operations scenarios can be applied to any industrial sector. Expensive manufacturing of  mock-ups could be superseded by using virtual models in an interactive VR environment instead. Substantial savings can be obtained by sparing on maintenance costs through improved effectiveness of maintenance operations.

VR/AR applications in Healthcare/Telemedicine. Virtual Reality in healthcare is a growing sector. One of the biggest challenge is the fusion of telemedicine and VR/AR technologies for tele-surgery where surgeons and patient are in different locations. Combination of advanced technologies for precisely tracking of surgeon movement, a realistic and real time VR/AR environment display for the physicians and telecommunication capabilities to transmit the data between two remote locations, are required to accomplish successfully such applications. In other medical situations e.g. emergency situations or remote sites, non-clinicians can receive via VR/AR experts direct support for required procedures.

VR/AR services for Tourism and Cultural Heritage. Interesting applications can be found in travel agencies which are starting to use augmented reality technology for visualisation of destinations and activities before and during travel. In this way, the traveller can experience interesting places in a more meaningful way with digital overlays containing interactive information about the culture or history of the site. In the world of Cultural Heritage, applications include virtual reconstructions of sites with the relocation of environment and objects.

VR/AR services for Training. A favourable application domain for VR/AR technologies are training scenarios in all kinds of market segments, where VR/AR can assist workers to recognise equipment and provide guidance through step-by-step diagnostics. Such immersive training will result in an increase of the safety for workers through better training/guidance during operations.

VR/AR applications for Education. Business areas pertaining to education are likely to be the most affected by an increased influx of VR/AR technologies. With the use of VR/AR environments, classrooms can get real-life simulations with immersive surroundings. VR/AR can provide teachers everything they need to take their students on field trips which teachers would ordinarily never be able to take their students on, for example to an underwater coral reef.


There are 2 webinars to give further information on this competition – register here.