2021 Thurlow Award

Presented to: Dr. Ignacio Fernández- Hernández

Citation: For pioneering contributions in the design and development of GNSS authentication and high accuracy services

Ignacio Fernandez-Hernandez

Dr. Ignacio Fernández-Hernández is the primary architect responsible for Galileo authentication and high accuracy services, pioneering their development in GNSS. He proposed and designed a message authentication protocol for the Galileo system, that is being integrated into Galileo E1-B I/NAV as Galileo’s open service navigation message authentication (OSNMA), ensuring GNSS data origin and making signals considerably more difficult to spoof. He detailed the OSNMA protocol end-to-end, including novel features such as satellite cross-authentication and keychain sharing, improving its performance and allowing its integration in Galileo. He defined the OSNMA performance analysis framework and receiver building blocks including synchronization processes, data authentication logic, and anti-replay methods. He also designed a semi-assisted spreading code authentication scheme based on encrypted E6C signals and OSNMA, known as Galileo’s Assisted Commercial Authentication Service (ACAS). OSNMA will be the first mass market GNSS authentication service, and the first worldwide spacebased cryptographic system able to serve billions of users.

Additionally, Dr. Fernández-Hernández led the design and development of a Galileo’s High Accuracy Service (HAS), a service providing precise GNSS corrections worldwide. He specified the HAS first architecture and led its proof of concept. He detailed the HAS SIS transmission protocol, including a novel multi-satellite transmission scheme with optimal message recovery.

Dr. Fernández-Hernández works at the European Commission, DG-DEFIS, as Galileo high accuracy and authentication manager. He has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s GPS Lab, as well as an adjunct professor at KU Leuven since 2020, where he teaches GNSS. He has been the chair/co-chair of various GNSS groups, such as US-EU WGC ARAIM and resilience technical groups, EU Galileo CS working group, and ICG PPP interoperability task force. He has authored/co-authored more than 90 publications and holds more than 10 granted patents. He obtained an MSc from ICAI, Madrid, in 2001, and a PhD from Aalborg University in 2015, both in Electronics Engineering.