EU's satellite navigation system Galileo reaches 1bn smartphone users

Today 95% of companies make smartphone chips that enable Galileo

Elzbieta Bienkowska

Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, will reach 1bn smartphone users worldwide on 10 September, EC press service reported. This milestone coincides with the 15th anniversary of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), the Commission's key partner in operating Galileo. “I am confident that our space industry will continue to thrive with more work, ideas and investment under the new EU Space Programme,” Elzbieta Bienkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said ahead of a special event at the GSA's headquarters in Prague.

Since December 2016, Galileo provides so-called “initial services” which already improve 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. Since 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 adistress 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 bn Space Programme for the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027.


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