NaVIC – India’s own regional navigation satellite system or IRNSS which is going to debut commercially in the Indian market with Realme X50 Pro, which is also the first 5G phone in India.
Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name NaVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), is India’s own navigation satellite system which is developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
NaVIC is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary.
It is powered by 7 satellites in which three of the satellites are located in geostationary orbit (GEO) and the remaining four of them are located in inclined geosynchronous orbit (GSO). It will provide two types of services – Standard Positioning Service (SPS) and Restricted Service (RS).
The Standard Positioning Service (SPS) is available for all the users in India
while Restricted Service (RS) is restricted to authorized users only.
Some applications of IRNSS are:
Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
Vehicle tracking and fleet management
Integration with mobile phones
Mapping and Geodetic data capture
Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers
Visual and voice navigation for drivers
Though GPS is powered by 30+ navigation satellites orbiting the earth, NaVIC is still better than GPS in terms of accuracy. NaVIC, though powered by 7 navigation satellites, can provide an absolute position accuracy of better than 10 meters throughout the Indian landmass and better than 20 meters in the Indian Ocean as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary around India.
On the other hand, GPS can provide a position accuracy of 20-30 meters. The Space Applications Centre in 2017 confirmed that NaVIC will provide standard positioning service to all users with a position accuracy up to 5 m. NaVIC has a dual-frequency (S and L bands) whereas GPS is dependent on L-band only. When a low-frequency signal travels through the atmosphere its velocity changes due to atmospheric disturbances.
United States banks on the atmospheric model to assess frequency error and it has to update this model from time to time to assess the exact error.
In October 2019, Qualcomm announced that they will be adding support for NaVIC to their upcoming chipsets.
In January 2020, Qualcomm announced the launch of three new chipsets Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460 which will support NaVIC. But with the launch of Realme X50 Pro, powered by Snapdragon 865 chipset, featuring NaVIC, shows that Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460 are not the only chipsets to support it.
Like Realme, Xiaomi is also preparing to launch its upcoming mobile which will feature the nation’s navigation satellite system. Manu Kumar Jain, Global VP of Xiaomi and MD of Xiaomi India, announced that the upcoming Redmi phone will feature India’s own regional navigation satellite system – NaVIC.
Henceforth, all the upcoming phones which will be powered by these Snapdragon chipsets will have support for NaVIC.
It will be exciting to see how India’s navigation satellite system will work and if it can really beat the GPS as told.
Russia has GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), Europe has Galileo, China has BeiDou, which are operational globally. Japan has QZSS which is the regional navigation satellite system.
GPS lacks in navigating through densely built areas but soon it will be covered by NaVIC which has better accuracy than GPS.
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