BeiDou satellite system accelerates application in emerging sectors

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/15 22:18:08

The 2019 whitepaper on industry development of China's satellite navigation and positioning services is launched on Wednesday in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Hongpei/GT

China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has been rapidly expanding its application in emerging sectors in a bid to achieve large-scale commercialization in the near future, according to an industry report released on Wednesday.

In the past year, the BDS has been widely used in such high-technology related sectors as intelligent connected vehicles, civil aviation and maritime observation, said a report by the GNSS & LBS Association of China on Wednesday.

Equipped with the BDS, the world's first electric truck with autonomous driving at level 4 conducted trial operations at Tianjin Port in April 2018, marking the positioning system's increasing importance in smart mobility.

Li Donghang, deputy secretary-general of the GNSS & LBS Association of China, said on the sidelines of the report's launch that with fifth-generation (5G) network technology expected to be widely used next year, there will be a big boost to BeiDou's development in more areas on a larger scale.

The revolution of the mobile Internet of Things enabled by 5G is highly likely to come out with a new and important business opportunity when combining with the BDS, said the report.

The domestic positioning system has also been widely applied in the agricultural sector. As of the end of 2018, the system had been installed in more than 30,000 units of machinery, covering a total of 6,000 mu (400 hectares) of plantation, data from the report showed.

"Overall, China's satellite positioning technology and application have been growing quickly in the past decade with annual growth rates hitting double digits,??said Li.

However, Li noted that China still lacks a world-class enterprise in the sector similar to Huawei or ZTE Corp in telecommunications. 

According to the report, the output of China's satellite navigation and positioning services industry hit 301.6 billion yuan ($43.92 billion) in 2018, up 18.3 percent on a yearly basis. BeiDou's contribution to the industry's core output hit 80 percent.

The construction of the BDS-3 primary system had been completed at the end of last year, officially marking BeiDou's entry into the global market as it began to expand from a regional system to a global satellite navigation system.

As of the end of 2018, the BDS had landed in more than 30 countries and regions along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative, according to the report.

Also as of the end of 2018, there were 33 BDS satellites running in orbit, including 15 BDS-2 satellites and 18 BDS-3 satellites, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

In April this year, China sent the 44th satellite of the BDS satellite family and the first BDS-3 satellite in inclined geosynchronous Earth orbit on a Long March-3B carrier rocket.


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