If you use Google Maps on your Android device or iPhone then you are using Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation system. While GPS is very popular among smartphone users, what most people do not know is that GPS is not the only satellite navigation system.
Russia uses its own GLONASS while the European Union and China have Galileo and BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).
Similarly, Bengaluru-based Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has developed the Indian version of GPS called Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC).
But why have NavIC when you are already using GPS? The answer dates back to the 1999 Kargil War when US refused to provide vital GPS information about Pakistani troops to India, the need for having India’s own satellite navigation system was felt for the first time. After two-decades, Isro is now in talks with chipmakers to integrate NavIC in upcoming smartphones that will be sold in India.
Here is everything you need to know
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 launched NavIC satellite navigation system made by Isro
Following the launch of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) 1G, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the NavIC satellite navigation system in 2016.
Isro is already in talks with Qualcomm and Broadcom to integrate support for NavIC in smartphones
A new chip with NavIC support needs to be made for smartphones. Few OEMs are in talks with Qualcomm and Broadcom
NavIC-enabled smartphones will be a game changer for India as it is one of the biggest smartphone markets globally
NavIC only focuses on India and Isro considers it to be more accurate than GPS with position accuracy of 5 metre
“When low frequency signal travels through atmosphere, its velocity changes due to atmospheric disturbances. US banks on atmospheric model to assess frequency error and it has to update this model from time to time to assess the exact error. In India’s case, we measure the difference in delay of dual frequency (S and L bands) and can assess the actual delay. Therefore NavIC is not dependent on any model to find the frequency error and is more accurate than GPS,” said Tapan Misra, the director of Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre (SAC) in a report by ET.
NavIC can also offer visual turn-by-turn voice navigation for drivers
There are a total of 8 Indian Regional Navigation Satellites (IRNS) for NavIC
Isro has deployed eight satellites for NavIC out of which seven will provide positioning, location, navigation and timing (PNT) services while another one will offer messaging services (IRNSS-1A).
Indian Air Force to use NavIC in fighter jets for navigation requirements
Commercial vehicles registered after April 1, 2019 are required to have NavIC trackers
Over 30 Indian companies are making NavIC trackers for vehicles after Isro procured multichip module (MCM) developed by Taiwanese SkyTraQ
Other use cases of NavIC includes disaster management, geodetic data capture, aerial and marine navigation and more