Chinese satellite navigation system BeiDou, a swiftly-expanding competitor to GPS, is now available to customers across the Asia-Pacific region. In just a span of three years, the company moves towards claiming one-fifth of the satellite services market in the region. Formerly, China’s government and military services were the only known sectors who utilized the satellite constellation, but now they have decided to commercialize the service.
In a statement during a press conference in Beijing, BeiDou spokesperson Ran Chengqi said, “The services now available include positioning, navigation, timing and short messages for China and surrounding areas. We hope BeiDou conquers 15 to 20 percent of the satellite services market in the Asia Pacific by 2015.”
China noted that state-funded navigation system BeiDou will acquire a revenue of more than $60 billion a year as the service globally expands. As of this time, customers who receive BeiDou’s signal can determine their position within ten meters, whereas most of the civilian GPS users are given positional data that is out by no more than two meters.
The creative minds behind BeiDou are claiming that when compared to GPS, which is owned by the U.S government, BeiDou’s services will be much more affordable. Considering the possibilities of enhancing the performance gap in the near future, BeiDou is also expanding at an impressive rate. Since the 1970s, GPS has been active, and for 20 years it has satellites in orbit that have been operating. However, the first of its current generation satellites was launched by BeiDou only five years ago.
Furthermore, while GPS consists of 30 satellites, BeiDou now has over fifteen satellites. Chengqi added that by the time the network is finished in 2020, it will have another forty satellites in orbit, at the cost of another $6 billion. A huge number of satellites make it easier and manageable for the system to calculate location, time and velocity of moving objects.
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