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BeiDou Milestones Include Accuracy to Within 1 to 2 Meters

March 27, 2017

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China's domestically produced satellite navigation system BeiDou has made significant progress in terms of its accuracy, according to reports out of China earlier this month. At a recent press conference, BeiDou engineers claimed that a new accurate positioning chip can now help users arrive at their destinations with an error margin of just one to two meters.

The release of this new chip from BeiDou made it possible to improve positioning accuracy up from 10 meters to within one to two meters, and it also allows users to distinguish the difference between a major highway and a side road.

"For users, there are two big improvements. One is the time the system takes to process your journey. This is down from 30 seconds to just three seconds. The second improvement is the position accuracy. The system can now tell if the car is on the main road or side road," said Li Xueli, an engineer of BeiDou, on the official English-language website of the China News Service (CNS),

Also, the BeiDou program expects that China's GNSS system will be installed in more than 10 million Chinese cars this year. In addition to the automotive industry, BeiDou expects its technology soon to be applied to several other sectors including city management, transportation regulations, and care for the elderly.

"It is estimated that by 2018, around 18 satellites will be launched, and the global network will more or less be built up. By 2020, over 30 satellites will have been successfully launched, and our BeiDou Navigation Satellite System will cover the world," Chinese rocket scientist Sun Jiadong told

BeiDou's step forward on positioning accuracy shows its determination to challenge the dominance of the other three global satellite navigation systems currently in operation — GPS, Glonass, and Galileo — while also highlighting the quality of China's research and development.

Total Civil Users Tops 10 Million
On March 4, the People’s Daily Online reported additional achievements for BeiDou, including an impressive milestone reached regarding the current number of civil users.

According to Fu Yong, head of China National Administration of GNSS and Applications, the BeiDou system civil user base has exceeded 10 million. In addition, BeiDou has finalized an inspection of 18,000 kilometers of gas pipe in Beijing, as Beijing Gas Group plans to replace its former GPS system with the BeiDou system.

Key indices such as accuracy of positioning and timing services are better than design criteria demand, according to BeiDou data findings. The BeiDou system is independently operated by China and is designed to provide positioning, navigation and timing services with high accuracy for users around the world.

BeiDou on a Global Stage
BeiDou was in the spotlight in the annual Government Work Report, the latest edition of which Premier Li Keqiang presented to the National People's Congress on March 5, according to China Daily. The report addressed the promotion of high-end manufacturing and the Belt and Road Initiative, and helping Chinese companies to globalize their equipment and homegrown technologies.

BeiDou, a product of the Chinese National Space Administration, and managed by the China Satellite Navigation Office, plans to accelerate its expansion into economies along the Belt and Road Initiative as China plans to launch six to eight BeiDou satellites this year. As previously stated, BeiDou has made significant progress in terms of accuracy of location detection.

This go-global strategy is part of China's broad plan to build a navigation system with a constellation of 35 satellites by 2020.

"The globalization era for BeiDou is coming," said Miao Qianjun, secretary-general of the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-based Services Association of China. "China is supporting BeiDou's exports roughly the same way it supports exports of high-speed railway products and technologies. BeiDou will become another high-tech name card for China," Miao said.

The GLAC, founded in 1995 to promote the commercial application of BeiDou technologies, in February invited its enterprise members involved in BeiDou-related industries for discussions. With assistance from the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, it set up an alliance for enterprises that seek to take BeiDou products and solutions to markets along the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We've received affirmative responses from 27 enterprises within a week. They are all eager to be part of our efforts," Miao said, adding the alliance members will receive financial support from the government.

Policy support for navigation technologies was first articulated in a guidance released by the NDRC in November 2016. It called for more help for enterprises to enable them to apply BeiDou technologies in Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

"The close economic ties between China and ASEAN will pave the way for BeiDou's entry. More importantly, in Southeast Asian countries located in low latitudes, BeiDou is more accurate than GPS," said Ming Dexiang, director of the BeiDou Open Laboratory, an agency that promotes commercial applications of BeiDou.

For more BeiDou news, read “U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Releases Staff Report on BeiDou” by clicking here.

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