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Europe's satnav system reaches 1 billion smartphones

Europe's satnav system reaches 1 billion smartphones

Photo © Tanusha - Fotolia

(PRAGUE) - Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, reached 1 billion smartphone users worldwide Tuesday, on the 15th anniversary of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA).

"Galileo is now providing high quality timing and navigation services to 1 billion smartphone users globally," said Elzbieta Bienkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs: "This has been made possible by a truly European effort to build the most accurate navigation system in the world, with the support and dedication of the GSA."

Galileo has been providing so-called "initial services" since December 2016, improving everyday life for citizens and businesses with accurate positioning, navigation and timing signals.

Today 95% of companies that produce smartphone chips for satellite navigation make chips that enable Galileo. The '1 billion users' milestone is based on the number of smartphones using Galileo sold across the world.

The actual number of Galileo users is larger. In Europe, all new car models approved for the market are equipped with the eCall system, which uses Galileo to communicate the vehicle's location to emergency services.

From this year, Galileo is integrated in the digital tachographs of lorries – a speed and distance recording device – to ensure the respect of driving time rules and improve road safety.

Galileo has also been providing crucial Search and Rescue (SAR) Service, reducing the time it takes to detect a person equipped with a distress beacon to less than 10 minutes at sea, in mountains or deserts. With Galileo, the accuracy of localisation has improved from 10 km to less than 2 km.In the future, the system will also confirm to the person that help is on the way.

Finally, Galileo supports public authorities with its Public Regulated Service, for sensitive security use. It offers a robust and fully encrypted service for government users during national emergencies or crisis, such as terrorist attacks, to ensure continuity of services.

The European space industry, the second largest in value in the world, is strong and competitive. To help maintain and further enhance the EU's leadership in space, the Commission has proposed a €16 billion Space Programme for the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027.

Galileo programme

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