Use Galileo today!

Published: 
05 January 2017
During the recent Declaration of Initial Services event in Brussels, the five leading chipset manufacturers showcased their Galileo products at the European Commission’s headquarters. © De Ribaucourt Photography

With last month’s Declaration of Galileo Initial Services, anyone with a mass-market device containing a Galileo-enabled chipset, such as a smartphone or a vehicle navigation device, can be guided using the positioning, navigation and timing information provided by Galileo’s global satellite constellation.

“Clearly, the Declaration of Galileo Initial Services is big news for chipset, receiver and device manufacturers and application developers operating in the GNSS market, whose Galileo-enabled products can now start using Galileo signals,” says GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “Today, we invite the industry to showcase their Galileo-enabled products to the media and to users.”

Market ready

The strong cooperation between the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and receiver industry has made it possible for Galileo to arrive onto the market even before the declaration of Initial Services. For example, Broadcom and Qualcomm, the market leaders for global smartphone chips supply, had already built Galileo into their products. As a result, many smartphones coming onto the market this year will arrive Galileo-ready.
“Accurate, reliable and rapid position location is an important part of the mobile experience,” says Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Senior Vice President Product Management Alex Katouzian. “Qualcomm Technologies is helping to improve consumers’ experiences with location-based services by adding Galileo support to our IZat location platform and deploying it broadly across our modem and application processor portfolios.”
Over the course of the past several years and in anticipation of Galileo Initial Services, such key chipset manufacturers as Intel, Mediatek, u-blox and STM have all announced Galileo-ready chips. Overall, more than 95% of the global satellite navigation supply market produce Galileo-ready chips.

Road and surveying now, aviation and maritime soon

Currently, most Galileo-enabled chipsets and receivers are found in the automotive, consumer, agriculture and surveying sectors. For example, in the road sector, satellites help with vehicle navigation and fleet management. “Today, Galileo ensures the accuracy of the satellite signals these services depend on and, in the near future, Galileo will help autonomous driving and connected vehicles,” says GSA Head of Market Development Gian Gherardo Calini.
In the high-precision market, all leading receiver developers have integrated Galileo into their products, including Trimble, Leica Geosystems, Javad, TopCon, Septentrio and NovAtel. “The availability of the first three Galileo services validates our confidence that Europe is ready to join the world’s operators of global navigation satellite systems,” says NovAtel President and CEO Michael Ritter. “NovAtel’s high precision GNSS receivers, antennas and certified ground-reference station receivers have supported Galileo signals in anticipation of the complete constellation.”
Galileo will soon be providing support to location based operations in all other market segments. For example, receivers for Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS) are already capable of tracking the Galileo signal. On the maritime side, Galileo is helping to ensure safer navigation on the water, and has been recognised by the International Maritime Organisation as part of its Worldwide Radio Navigation System.
“The GSA is excited to continue its close cooperation with chipset and receiver manufacturers in the coming years as we further optimise Galileo performance and maximise user benefits,” says Calini. Along these lines, the 2017 Annual Receiver Workshop is scheduled for March 21 at GSA headquarters in Prague. This regular event is an excellent opportunity for the GNSS receiver community to learn the latest about the Galileo programme.

First Galileo smartphones

With Galileo, the positioning information provided by smartphones is more accurate and reliable – particularly in urban environments where narrow streets and tall buildings often block satellite signals and limit the usefulness of many mobile services. One of the first device manufacturers to take advantage of the increased accuracy and reliability that Galileo provides is BQ, the Spanish technology company that launched the first European-designed Galileo smartphone to hit the market.
“It is a great privilege for BQ to be one of the first in the world to offer Galileo in our devices,” says BQ Assistant General Manager Rodrigo del Prado. “This is a clear demonstration of Europe’s robust technological capabilities.”
Other smartphone manufacturers are also preparing to activate Galileo capability on their devices. In fact, just prior to the Declaration of Initial Services, the Huawei Mate 9 added Galileo support to the phone’s technical specifications.

Up-to-date info on using Galileo

To keep users up-to-date with detailed information on all available Galileo-compatible products, the GSA launched www.useGalileo.eu. From this dedicated website users can easily browse the list of currently available Galileo products and devices and search for devices based on user segment. 
Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link the article back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website (http://www.gsa.europa.eu).

Updated: Jan 30, 2018