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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   11  December  2015  

ASEAN seen to become satellite navigation hotspot by 2020

SOUTHEAST Asia is poised to become one of the most well-covered areas by Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS) by 2020.

According to Pascal Viaud, technology committee co-chair for GNSS.Asia, ASEAN businesses must start innovating now to benefit from this development.

GNSS.Asia is a programme sponsored by European Union and coordinates industry cooperation between the EU and the Asia-Pacific to develop satellite receivers and other areas involving GNSS.

Viaud said South Korea, Japan, India and China are deploying navigation satellite systems. He expects the Southeast Asia region to be a GNSS hotspot by 2020.

“This is extensive regional coverage, which is quite unusual,” Viaud said in an interview held on the sidelines of the recent 7th Annual Multi-Global Navigation Satellite System Asia Conference.

Viaud said those who want to be best positioned to take advantage of increased GNSS coverage can do so now.

“Even if constellations are not fully deployed right now, multi-GNSS receivers are already available in the market,” he said.

Businesses can use this to develop and test software, new solutions and services.

“You have to be a pioneer, you have to start now because 2020 is very soon. It is important you have all the building blocks on your side to start to do something,” he said.

He said at present, ASEAN can get signals from six satellites through smartphones.

But by 2020, a smartphone can potentially be receiving signals from 30 satellites at the same time.

“So it is time for this region to look at new applications and new usage of this technology, where you can take advantage of those constellations (satellite systems),” he said.

GNSS is a set of technologies using satellites with a diverse range of applications. Viaud said satellite signals can be used to innovate in any field.

“It can be used on smartphones for location-based services on a variety of applications. You can use it on your car. It can be used for maritime applications, planes and even agriculture,” he said.

He said there are different types of satellites, one of which is the well-known Global Positioning System (GPS).

“What’s happening now is that you have more and more (GNSS) satellites being sent up by different countries in the world,” he said. This includes China’s BeiDao, Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System and Europe’s Galileo.

GNSS is a fairly more recent term that encompasses all of these satellites alongside the American GPS system.

“The good news for us users everywhere, especially in Southeast Asia, is that we can catch all these signals from all these different types,” he said, noting this will depend on the compatibility of the satellite receiver in the device.

Innovation with increased satellite coverage can come in various areas.

“By getting more satellites, you have more precision,” he said. This meant pin-pointing a location of a device to an accuracy of below one metre, which allows for all different kinds of applications.

“You can have high precision agriculture, smart agriculture (using automation) because you can locate precisely where something is on the ground,” he said.

Satellite coverage can also provide location-based services in big cities. When you rely solely on GPS, big buildings make it difficult to get a precise location.

“With Galileo and more (satellite) constellations coming up, this will help reduce that issue and get more precision,” he said.

Another benefit is a reduction in a ‘time-to-fix’, where a satellite will take some time to locate your position after you have left a building or exited a tunnel.

“This can be quite long depending on where you are today, but with more satellites you can reduce it down to a second,” he said.

New satellite constellations can also have features not available in GPS.

“For example, Galileo, there will be a security bit, which means you can get authentication from the satellite so you know you care getting a real signal and not a spoofed (fake) one,” he said.

The Brunei Times

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