Qualcomm phones to use Isro satellite signals for navigation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Qualcomm phones to use Isro satellite signals for navigation

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Jan 22, 2020 03:04 AM IST

NavIC (or Navigation with Indian Constellation) is a seven-satellite regional navigation system developed by the Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation) that will provide positioning services over India and countries up to 1,500km around it.

New smartphones in India running on Qualcomm chipsets unveiled on Tuesday will be able to use signals from Isro’s satellites for navigation. The three new chipsets — Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460 — will be the first to support the Indian NavIC, the agency said.

Unlike GPS, GLOSNASS, and BeiDou, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) provides position services only over a particular region, making it cheaper with fewer satellites.(AP Photo)
Unlike GPS, GLOSNASS, and BeiDou, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) provides position services only over a particular region, making it cheaper with fewer satellites.(AP Photo)

NavIC (or Navigation with Indian Constellation) is a seven-satellite regional navigation system developed by the Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation) that will provide positioning services over India and countries up to 1,500km around it.

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These chipsets were developed by Qualcomm, the US-based multinational company, in consultation with the space agency.

“Isro has provided consultation to Qualcomm towards enabling NavIC capability in their Snapdragon mobile chipset platforms. These chipsets will help accelerate the adoption of NavIC by smartphones. The manufacturers can now release new models for the Indian market which are NavIC enabled, thus eventually making NavIC a standard feature in the upcoming handsets,” said a statement from Isro.

For the end-user, this will mean that apps such as Google maps, Ola and Uber will use signals from Indian satellites along with the American GPS to improve accuracy.

“Most smartphones these days come with chipsets that can receive GPS signals, along with the Russian GLOSNASS, and Chinese BeiDou. The phones can automatically and autonomously choose the satellite constellation that provides the best coverage in the area,” said a scientist from Isro on condition of anonymity.

“Also, once the NavIC-enabled smartphones come to the market, newer applications may be developed based on the NavIC system alone,” the official said.

Unlike GPS, GLOSNASS, and BeiDou, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) provides position services only over a particular region, making it cheaper with fewer satellites. Compared to India’s seven, GPS is a 33-satellite system, GLOSNASS 26, and BeiDou a 35-satellite system.

NavIC’s accuracy over India will be high. The unrestricted service under IRNSS is likely to be accurate up to 5m. The length of a hatchback car is about 3m.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anonna Dutt is a health reporter at Hindustan Times. She reports on Delhi government’s health policies, hospitals in Delhi, and health-related feature stories.

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