Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi might be the first smartphone OEM to feature the Indian Space Research Organisation’s NavIC, the Indian version of Global Positioning System (GPS). This was confirmed by an ISRO official who said that Xiaomi and ISRO are in the advanced stage of talks on the provision of chipsets that can support NavIC.

US chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies will manufacture the chipset. The chip is expected to be released later this month. And if the deal with Xiaomi gets finalized, we may see a “mid-range” smartphone in about 7 months according to the official. This inclusion of NavIC in smartphones might finally let ISRO take its technology to the masses.

In terms of accuracy, NavIC is said to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 meters in its primary service area. In comparison, the US’s GPS and Russia’s GLONASS offer accuracy of less than 5 meters while Europe’s Galileo offers an accuracy of less than 1 meter.

What is NavIC?

NavIC is India’s own navigation system which is an abbreviation for “Navigation with Indian Constellation”. The constellation consists of 7 satellites that can provide real-time positioning and timing services to the subcontinent of India and beyond. In fact, the program covers a region of about 1,500km around its boundary and there are plans for expansion too.

NavIC was made keeping self-reliance in mind and will serve different cohorts like armed forces, emergency services, and fishermen, In fact, officials have also mentioned how NavIC can be used to see if targeted ads are reaching the targeted audience. Starting April 1, 2019, NavIC trackers were also mandated for commercial vehicles.

NaVIC will be used to provide Standard Positioning Service (SPS) to all users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service for only authorized users.


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