Galileo Initial Services
Galileo, the European Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS), has made significant progress in recent years. There are now 26 Galileo satellites orbiting the Earth, and the supporting ground station infrastructure is working well. As a result, Galileo is now ready to be used.
With the declaration of Galileo Initial Services in December 2016, Galileo officially moved from testing phase to the provision of live services. For the first time ever, users around the world can be guided using the positioning, navigation and timing information provided by Galileo’s global satellite constellation.
This is excellent news for users, chipset and receiver manufacturers, application developers and anyone who wants to benefit from the improved accuracy, reliability, availability and coverage that Galileo satellites bring. Any mass-market device containing a Galileo-enabled chipset, such as a smartphone or a vehicle navigation device, can now use Galileo signals for positioning, navigation and timing.
What does this mean for you?
Better positioning and navigation
With Galileo satellites working together with GPS, there are more satellites available, meaning more accurate and reliable positioning for end users. In particular, navigation in cities, where satellite signals can often be blocked by tall buildings, benefits from the increased positioning accuracy that multi-constellation provides.
Unique timing accuracy
Galileo’s excellent 30 nanosecond timing accuracy enables more resilient synchronisation of banking and financial transactions, and telecommunication and energy distribution networks - helping them to operate more efficiently.
Faster response to emergencies
Galileo’s Search and Rescue service reduces the time it takes to detect emergency distress beacon signals from up to three hours to just ten minutes. Since the locations of the beacons are also determined more accurately, people in distress, whether at sea or in the mountains, can be rescued more quickly.
The use of satellite navigation has helped drive world economic growth, particularly in high-tech industries. The global GNSS downstream market, which comprises both devices and augmentation services, is forecast to grow by 6.4% annually between 2015 and 2020. The additional resiliency provided by Galileo is expected to enable a range of new applications and services that will benefit from increased positioning reliability, thus further driving economic growth in Europe and beyond.
What’s next for Galileo?
The declaration of Galileo Initial Services is the first step towards its Full Operational Capability. The performance of Galileo will gradually improve as additional satellites are added to the constellation. Once completed in 2020, users will benefit from its full first-class performance, reliability and coverage.