BeiDou starts extra accurate global service

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/27 23:18:39

China frees itself of reliance on foreign satellite systems

China on Thursday announced that its domestically developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has started to provide a global service with positioning accuracy of 10 meters and timing accuracy of 20 nanoseconds.

BeiDou spokesperson Ran Chengqi, also director general of China Satellite Navigation Office, made the announcement at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing.

"The construction of the BDS-3 primary system has been completed and global service is provided starting today, marking the moment that BDS officially enters the global era," Ran said.

BDS-1 is already retired and 15 BDS-2 satellites are in continuous, stable operation.

Nineteen BDS-3 satellites have been successfully launched with stable and reliable inter-satellite links being established and deployment of the core constellation for the BDS-3 successfully completed, according to the official document Development of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (Version 3.0) released on Thursday.

The spokesperson characterized the BDS global service that covers the countries and regions along the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative route as "highly reliable and stable with high precision," as he released the new BDS Open Service Performance Standard (version 2.0) on Thursday.

The document states that the BDS service scope has expanded from region-wide to worldwide, and the positioning accuracy will be 10 meters.

The velocity of the BDS global service will reach 0.2 meters per second and the timing accuracy 20 nanoseconds, with a 95 percent confidence level. The BDS global service availability will be above 95 percent on the planet.

Ran highlighted that the positioning accuracies for the Asia-Pacific region were 5 meters horizontally and vertically, "a world-beating level."

"From now on, no matter where you go, BDS will always be with you everywhere anytime," he said.

As good as GPS

The Chinese homegrown navigation system, named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper, began serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.

The Thursday event marked the moment that China's BDS has stepped up from regional to global, officially becoming the fourth navigation system capable of providing global service to the world following the US' GPS, Russia's GLONASS, and the European Union's Galileo.

China's BDS is not only capable of providing global navigation services as accurate as the other three systems, but it is also the world's only navigation system providing global communication services.

BDS possesses a unique short message service function, known as the positioning report service, Ran noted.

Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert and TV commentator, hailed Thursday's development of BDS global coverage capability for laying "a great foundation for the building of Chinese People's Liberation Army blue water navy and strategic air force that perform global missions."

As BDS is independently developed and totally controllable, it is safe to say that China has now rid itself of reliance on foreign navigation systems, especially in extreme situations, Song said.

Booming BDS application

As per data the China Satellite Navigation Office provided to the Global Times on Thursday, Chinese practitioners in the field of satellite navigation and location-based services have reached 14,000 units, employing more than 500,000 people in the Pearl River Delta, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta, Hubei-Henan-Hunan region, Sichuan-Shaanxi-Chongqing region.

China's independently developed domestic BDS chips have entered the 28-nanometer category and the total number of satellite navigation patent applications in the country have reached 54,000, ranking first in the world, the official data shows.

BDS applications in transportation, marine fisheries and other fields have continued to deepen.

In China, 6.17 million commercial vehicles, 35,600 postal and express delivery vehicles, 80,000 buses in 36 key cities, 3,230 inland navigation facilities and 2,960 marine navigation facilities are using BDS.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge also adopts a BDS high-precision deformation monitoring system to effectively ensure the safe operation of the bridge.

Ran told the Global Times that a great majority of smart phones in the world have adopted BDS-compatible chips as BDS has joined the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

3GPP is the international body that decides wireless standards and includes representatives from telecom operators and equipment makers.

And smart cars with a built-in BDS high-precision service are expected to enter the market in 2019.

By 2020, 11 BDS satellites and 1 BDS-2 satellite will be launched to fully complete the BDS-3 global constellation deployment and to further improve performance.

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