Global Positioning Systems, or GPS are used by a lot of technology nowadays from the latest smartphone all the way up to the latest smart car, all of this has been provided by an already existing geostationary satellite network that has existed for some time now.
Today the European Union launched its own freely available alternative GPS called Galileo.
It was named after the Italian engineer and astronomer and was originally conceived in 1999 as a privately funded enterprise, however, a series of failed investment rounds ensued and delayed the project but the EY decided to take charge of that project in 2008 for a total of $11 billion.
The Galileo system works by using a set of 18 satellites that are currently in orbit around the Earth, providing positioning data to smartphones, computers, and other electronics in a similar way to the current GPS systems, however, the EU says that the Galileo system can reduce the amount of time that it takes to pinpoint GPS distress beacons, with a much higher degree of location accuracy.
The EU says that it can pinpoint an object within one meter, which will allow it to offer greater precision via a premium service, however, to work the system still needs to rely on the old systems to provide global coverage.
The EU does hope to become self-reliant by 2020 with the launch of six additional satellites.
The EU said that this entire system will be important due to almost 10 percent of the continent’s GDP coming from devices and services that rely on some form of satellite navigation, and they say that number will only increase to 30 percent by 2030.
But EU aren’t the only ones at it, Russia is also building the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), China is developing BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, Japan is working on the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System and finally India is looking to launch their Regional Navigation Satellite System.
The US also wants to update their system of GPS with a new system called GPS IIIA.
They claim this system will be the next generation of GPS, providing more powerful signal transmission that is capable of improving accuracy to within a metre via 32 new satellites.