Plough Stars

Services and applications for winter road maintenance


Plough Stars is a feasibility study and part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) Programme. The industrial team investigates new services and applications for improving winter road maintenance. These integrated solutions are based on existing terrestrial systems and will be enhanced with space-based technologies like satellite navigation, satellite communication and earth observation.

Brief Description

The main goal of this feasibility study is to establish a concept for advanced winter maintenance operations, based on the needs of users and stakeholders, combined with an assessment of the economic viability. As a result, operators and drivers of winter road vehicles will be supported during their work with a range of new services.

Implementing this project requires an intensive collaboration with and between various stakeholders. During the workshops and interviews information regarding existing solutions, user needs and their priorities are collected, evaluated and prioritized. Based on a state-of-the-art analysis, Satellite Navigation, Telecommunication and Earth Observation technologies are considered in view of their potential for improving existing winter maintenance systems. The industrial team’s broad experience, knowledge and expertise will help to transfer this information into the development of new and goal-oriented solutions – in the course of the project a prototype for demonstration purposes will be developed. Winter maintenance in Scandinavia and Central Europe will profit from improved weather predictions, optimized salt spreading, enhanced driver assistance during bad weather conditions and automated documentation. The resulting benefits are versatile and will be extensively evaluated in the frame of this study with respect to their feasibility and economic potential. Potential users are:

  • Road operators and road administrations
  • Road maintenance or construction agencies
  • Manufacturers of winter maintenance vehicles and equipment
  • Telematics systems providers
  • Logistics Industry
  • Governmental authorities

Resulting benefits from Plough Stars:

  • Extended navigation services based on high positioning accuracy
  • Collision avoidance through driver assistance
  • Optimized and intelligent location-based equipment control
  • Automatic documentation of snow clearing and salt spreading
  • Reduced maintenance costs and minimized environmental impacts
  • Improved weather and snow prediction for optimized planning
  • Better road conditions and safety, minimizing traffic delays


Project Partners
  • Berner & Mattner Systemtechnik GmbH, Munich (Lead)
  • BRIMATECH Services GmbH, Vienna
  • TeleConsult Austria GmbH
  • Vista Remote Sensing in Geosciences GmbH, Munich

Acknowledgement: Plough Stars was carried out under a programme of and funded by the European Space Agency. The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.

  • ESA (European Space Agency) within IAP (Integrated Applications Promotion)
  • Successfully completed in 2015