Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

HERMES Report Summary

Project ID: 711830

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HERMES (HERMES - High Efficiency Real-time Multithreading Engine for Space Applications)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Hermes is a single company project of TAITUS, a company with a 12+ years success track record providing services to the most relevant players in the space sector (e.g. ESA, THALES, AIRBUS) and big companies (e.g. PETROBRAS). Moreover, our talented professional team is composed by renown experts in the Space sector with Deep experience in the Earth Observation segment.
Access to data from satellites, particularly Earth Observation (EO) data, has the power to impact everyday lives for billions of people across the world. Whatever the final application is, the truth is that the complexity of obtaining a proper stream of data (usually coming from different satellites/organisations) valid for any of the described applications is overwhelming. Space involved companies, and specially SMEs need accurate models of all elements involved, Deep experience of Earth observation, and most importantly the right technology to use and build the software they need.
Hermes is a software development ecosystem that allows our customers in the Space sector to accurately and cost- effectively easily build applications to plan and manage satellite-data acquisition based projects and businesses.
1. Mathematical and physical models successfully proven on-the-field on rigorous missions (e.g. Sentinel program)
2. Our high quality Software Development Kit (SDK) let our clients save more than 65% of development cost, thanks to its high modularity and our SDK license cost is 50% cheaper than those from our competitors with equivalent features.
More importantly, we are the only company in the market able that offers timeliness.
1. Our proprietary General Purpose Graphic Processing Unit (GPGPU) algorithmic (10x-100x boost in processing speed) let our clients obtain the results of the complex calculations involved in satellite-data acquisition missions in a few minutes instead of waiting several hours, which impacts satellite-data consumption strategy (75% costs reduction).
2. Moreover, this is a unique selling point that none of our competitors can offer and our main competitive advantage.
3. Furthermore, timeliness is critical in applications such as disaster warning systems, where response time can be measured in terms of human lives, or natural disaster management, such as oil-spills where response time is critical to minimise the long-term environmental impact.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

After being honoured with a H2020 Phase 1 grant, we have executed thorough Technical and Commercial Feasibility Studies, concluding that HERMES is viable both from a technical and a commercial point of view:
1. Technical Feasibility. We have a complete working solution under MS Windows operating system that allows the development of powerful standalone solutions (i.e. SaVoir). During the feasibility study we have detailed the project plan that will let us extend our solutions to all other main operating systems and also to develop a cloud-based solution. We also have refactored current architecture to reach a higher level of modularity that will allow our customers to minimise their costs and accelerate their time to market, greatly boosting the RoI of their investment in HERMES.
2. Commercial Feasibility. We have confirmed that the industry has full interest in our solution and that the time is right now, due to our growing base of commercial customers that need satellite data to carry out their business but do not have access to the proper tools to plan their satellite data consumption strategy:
a. Upstream Segment (Satellite design & manufacturing, Launch, Earth infrastructure design & deployment). They need a robust ecosystem to accurately and timely simulate different configurations of satellite fleets and associated Earth infrastructure to satisfy their development requirements while guaranteeing keeping budget under control. HERMES modular architecture provides them such means. We have confirmed the interest of the main players in this segment, e.g. NASA, ESA, THALES, that are willing to help us with their insight in their needs.
b. Downstream Segment. (Satellite Services Providers and End Users). Hermes provides all players in this segment both a fully modular architecture that lets them acquire just the licenses they need to build their tools, as well as a growing base of specific applications that cover their precise needs. We have confirmed the interest of representative players, e.g. PETROBRAS, ESA, that are willing to help us with their insight in their needs.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The Hermes platform is built with a software programming method that has not been applied so far to the space and satellite industries, benefitting from the computational power provided by the latest advances of the computers industry. We optimized the load balancing between the traditional CPU and the GPU for the satellite data analysis, choosing the best-suited treatment according to the type of data being processed and thus achieving great speedups in the processing, in the range 10x-100x. Being a very fundamental improvement, it has the potential to benefit all levels of the industry, from satellite operators to satellite services end users. It leads to savings in response time (from hours to minutes of waiting for a planning request), development efforts (as a COTS product, usually more than 50% of it), power consumption (as high as 8x per instruction processed by the GPU) and economic resources (in personnel and optimization in data acquisition).
General purpose GPU programming is at its beginnings, both inside and outside of the space industry. It has a huge potential to be developed in the hardware and software areas. New hardware architectures are being investigated, and new algorithms must be devised to take full advantage of them. Our priority is to keep ourselves in a frontline position as a pioneering European company of the sector, transferring to the space and satellite industries the best advancements produced by the computers industry, in order to attend the ever growing technological demands from our clients.

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