European satellite navigation service Galileo goes live

Thursday 15 December 2016 | 11:16 CET | News

Europe's satellite navigation system Galileo is finally starting service. From 15 December, the system will start sending signals to receivers. While the European system is smaller than the US's GPS, with just 18 satellites, it is as much as ten times more precise, according to the European Commission, thanks to the satellite configuration. 

Galileo will offer an initial four free services: a search and rescue service for emergency operations; the Galileo Open Service for mass-market navigation and timing based on chipsets in smartphones or car navigation systems; better time synchronisation for critical infrastructure such as energy and telecom networks; and the Public Regulated Service for police and other law enforcement, including the possibility of encrypted communications. 

According to the Commission, smartphones with Galileo-supported chipsets are already on the market. By 2018, Galileo will also be found in every new car in the EU, thanks to the mandatory eCall system for locating vehicles after an accident. 

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