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China’s new navigation satellite system is almost finished, and it is expected to go live in 2020, after years of development.
China’s alternative to GPS is nearing completion after a number of years in development. According to Ran Chengqi, the project’s lead, it appears that the Beidou Navigation Satellite System’s core was just completed earlier this month. Meanwhile, the last two satellites are expected to reach orbit before 2020 officially starts.
— Engadget (@engadget) December 29, 2019
Accomplishing this will mark the third phase of Beidou, which originally emerged in 2000. However, it represents the peak of the project’s satellite system. Even so, Ran claims that the first major upgrade is still quite a way away, not expecting it to arrive for another 15 years, likely only in 2035.
Fortunately for Chinese users, the majority of them will not have to do anything in order to benefit from the new system. In fact, it is estimated that around 70% of the smartphones currently used in China already support Beidou.
In addition to that, there are around 120 partners that are using Beidou as their go-to mapping technology.
China’s efforts to create its own navigation is believed to be a method of achieving independence. In a sense, the move is similar to what Russia did with its GLONASS. Meanwhile, the US continues to run its GPS, which allows it to have full control over who can use it. As a consequence, the country can even disable access to it due to military or political interests.
Thanks to Beidou, the US’ power will be reduced, as the location services will continue even if the US decides to restrict someone. Finally, China’s new service arrived alongside 5G, as well as autonomous cars, which are more than likely to use its system for further improving its features.
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