Long known for its scientific creativity and skilled workforce, the Czech capital is redefining itself as a hub for space technology. Europe’s long-awaited launch of its own geo-positioning system is adding to the city’s momentum, Technologist.eu writes.
After 17 years of development and more than €10 billion, Europe’s own geo-positioning system, Galileo, is finally going live. Compared to its US and Russian counterparts, Galileo is expected to provide greater accuracy for users equipped with mass-market devices containing the system’s chipset. Once Galileo is fully deployed in 2020, it will include 30 satellites – 27 operational and three spares – assuring that the loss of one satellite will not affect users. Only China’s system will have more satellites (35) when global access is offered in 2020.
Galileo comes as the market for global positioning continues to expand. From today’s estimated four billion users, the market is expected to increase 18% by 2019. The growing reliance on the satellite technology has major economic implications. According to the European Commission, 6-7% of Europe’s GDP – approximately €800 billion – depends on satellite navigation.
“The Internet of Things is everywhere, connecting smartphones, tablets and industrial and home appliances, and making roads, cities, factories and appliances smarter”, says Carlo des Dorides, executive director of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA). “Galileo brings better accuracy and availability due to its signal strength in difficult environments like cities.” The sectors that will benefit most directly from Galileo – named after the 17th-century Italian scientist – are air, sea and road transport.
In 2012, the GSA moved from Brussels to Prague. “It was an opportunity to enhance Czech prestige as a technologically advanced country and to boost local business”, says des Dorides.
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