‘NavIC’ all set to navigate you

Soon, your smartphones and car navigation systems may take directions from NavIC, the government’s desi global positioning system that has been developed to challenge the current GPS operations taken from the West.

NavIC, an ambitious project pursued by the government, is in the final stages of launch, and could soon be offered as an Indian counter to foreign systems, currently being used by companies and other users.

NavIC, or the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, will work through a constellation of seven satellites, the last of which was launched around the middle of 2016.

NavIC (‘Navigation with Indian Constellation’ whose English meaning is ‘sailor’ or ‘navigator’), is designed to provide accurate position information to users within the country. It will help India enter the club of select countries having their own positioning systems. Besides America’s GPS (with 24 satellites in a constellation), Russia has its GLONASS and European Union, its Galileo. Interestingly, China is also in the process of building Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

With seven satellites, the NavIC covers only India and its surroundings and is considered to be more accurate than the American system. NavIC will provide standard positioning service to all users with a position accuracy of 5 metre. The GPS, on the other hand, has a position accuracy of 20-30 metre.

The indigenous navigation system is believed to have cost ISRO around Rs.1,400 crore, and will aid terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, disaster management, mapping and geodetic data capture, visual and voice navigation for drivers.

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