According to some reports, India’s regional Global Navigation Satellite System(GNSS) is operational and is set to hit the market for public use early next year. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will have operational name of ‘NavIC’ and it is at present being tested for its accuracy.
India developed this capability last year in April when the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) successfully launched IRNSS-1G, the seventh and last satellite in the IRNSS series, and guided it to its orbit.
NavIC is superior to the American GPS as it is more accurate, though it has only seven satellites when compared to 24 of GPS and limited coverage to India and its surroundings only, NavIC has got a position accuracy of 5 metre while GPS has a position accuracy of 20-30 metre only.
Also, NavIC has dual frequency (S and L bands) while GPS is dependent only on L band. So in case of low-frequency signal it doesn’t have to depend on the atmospheric model to assess frequency error as in GPS. It uses the difference in delay of dual frequency (S and L bands) to assess the actual delay, which adds to its accuracy.
The indigenous navigation system cost Isro Rs 1,420 crore and has ended India’s dependency on GPS and it has helped India enter the club of select countries, which have their own positioning systems. Only US, Russia, and EU have their own positioning system and China is still in the process of building Beidou Navigation Satellite System.
NavIC will aid terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management, disaster management, mapping and geodetic data capture, visual and voice navigation for drivers.