Europe’s Galileo Satellite Navigation System Goes Live Today

Europe’s Galileo Satellite Navigation System Goes Live Today

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17 years ago, Europe committed to funding their own satellite navigation system.

This new satellite system would be replacing both the U.S.-ran GPS and Russia-operated GLONASS that people throughout Europe have been using. Named Galileo, the new cluster of navigation satellites are promising to be both faster and more accurate than the older U.S. and Russian operated satellites.

The project has cost a whopping €10 billion over the last 17 years it has been in development, but estimates say it will bring €90 billion to the EU economy over the next 20 years. Interestingly enough, reports say that 10% of Europe’s entire GDP is in some way reliant on satellite navigation. From the average citizen using it to drive to and from work, all the way to a train needing to know what track it’s on, many people and businesses rely on satellite navigation systems.

Earlier this year, Qualcomm announced they would be broadly supporting Europe’s new navigation system with their chips. We’re told that, assuming the software supports it, the following SoCs will be compatible with Galileo – Snapdragon 820, 652, 650, 625, 617, and 435. It will also be supported on Qualcomm’s specialized automobile chip, the Snapdragon 820A, along with telematics and IoT solutions that use the Snapdragon X16, X12, X7, and X5 LTE Modems, and the Qualcomm 9×15 and MDM6x00 modems.

Europe’s own Search & Rescue team will also be switching to this new satellite system. With yesterday’s technology, it can take them up to 3 hours to narrow down someone’s location, and even that is within a 6-mile radius. Galileo is said to be able to do this in just 10 minutes, and with only a 3 mile radius. Starting today, the new navigation system will have 18 satellites in orbit. Within the next two years, they’re scheduled to launch another 8 satellites. They are aiming for a 30-satellite constellation by the time it is completed.