Sci & Tech

ISRO to share indigenous positioning tech with industry to boost usage

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will transfer technology to companies to help them build navigational devices for a variety of applications, including smartphones. The decsion to share the technology is driven by its aim to get more users to use the homegrown NavIC network for finding routes across the country.

NavIC or (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is the country’s constellation of seven navigation satellites — India’s alternative to the US GPS network. The Navigation tool, which has been used for strategic purposes so far, provides positioning accuracy of five metres.

Isro’s Space Application Centre (SAC) said that it has developed hardware and firmware for the intended application and will provide technical details to Indian industry on a request basis against a non-disclosure agreement.

SAC has developed working prototype hardware. The product can also be used by fishermen and for deep-sea marine applications. The first-user trials of the satellite navigation equipment for fishermen have been designed to equip 500 fishing vessels with NavIC receivers by the end of the current month. Fishermen can zero in on large shoals based on the fishing zone advisory that is part of the NavIC system. Warning signals and messages can also be sent to boats from the shore.

NavIC, a Swadeshi GPS system, is designed to provide accurate positioning information to users within the country. It will provide standard positioning service to users with a position accuracy of five metres. The GPS, on the other hand, has a position accuracy of 20-30 metres.

The smaller the distance, the greater is the accuracy of the navigation device in finding the real location.
“Packaging is to be designed by the vendor along with battery charging option. Vendor participation is invited for production of the same hardware in large numbers,” said SAC.

Isro’s NavIC Satellite Constellation has a coverage area up to 1,500 km around the Indian mainland, and has been designed mainly for regional navigation services. In addition to their primary functionality, these devices allow broadcasting of additional short messages on alerts, forecasts and directives on the occurrence of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and landslides. They are particularly useful in areas with little or no communication infrastructure.

The NavIC Messaging Receiver has been conceptualised and developed at SAC, Isro, Ahmedabad, for reception and display of these messages. The receiver transmits raw data over a Bluetooth link. An application running on a smart device such as a mobile phone or tablet with Bluetooth connectivity can decode and display the messages for users.

This receiver has been designed as a battery-operated low-power device, and comes with a note on hardware architecture and other specifications for product. NavIC module can be procured from Antrix Corporation Limited, Isro’s commercial arm.

The Receiver has been developed, tested, demonstrated and delivered to many users. An Android application is also developed to display the messages on mobile phone / tablet. Messages broadcasted by INCOIS can be received using this application.

By: Business Standard

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