ISRO Missions and Discoveries

NAVIC (Navigation in Indian Constellation)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NAVIC

Mains level : Utility of NAVIC

  • The ISRO and its older commercial arm Antrix Corporation Ltd. are poised to commercialise India’s regional navigation satellite system, NavIC.
  • Antrix recently floated two separate tenders to identify industries that can develop dedicated NavIC-based hardware and systems.

NavIC (Navigation in Indian Constellation)

  • It is the Indian system of seven satellites that is aimed at telling the business and individual users where they are, or how their products and services are moving.
  • The indigenous positioning or location-based service (LBS) works just like the established and popular U.S. Global Positioning System or GPS but within a 1,500-km radius over the sub-continent.
  • It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km around it, with plans for further extension.
  • NAVIC will provide two levels of service, the standard positioning service“, which will be open for civilian use, and a “restricted service (an encrypted one) for authorised users (including the military).
  • NAVIC is planned to become available for civilian use in the first half of 2020

Early users

  • The early set of commercial NavIC users would be potentially transporters of resources such as mined ore, coal and sand in various States.
  • Several transporters currently use GPS-based systems.

Positive developments

  • Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a leading producer of semiconductor chips, had developed and tested NavIC-friendly chipsets across its user bases and that it would add NavIC to them.
  • Apart from GPS, its chips can work with the global navigation satellite systems of Europe (Galileo), Russia (GLONASS) and China (Beidou.)
  • ISRO said this support would be available for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from November 2019.
  • It expects the indigenous system to ‘enhance’ the use of NavIC on mobile, automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

3GPP project

  • The important positive for NavIC was the certification of the Indian system by the 3GPP (The 3rd Generation Partnership Project), a global body for coordinating mobile telephony standards.
  • The specifications will be available in March 2020 and the Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI) has said it would adopt them as a national standard.
  • The implication is that 4G and 5G devices with NavIC capability can use assisted-NavIC solution in place of, or in addition to, other constellations.
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