ISRO and Xiaomi are reportedly in talks over the provision of chipsets that can support NaVIC, which is India’s version of GPS

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s very own version of the global positioning system (GPS) NaVIC may soon be available on Xiaomi smartphones. ISRO and Xiaomi are reportedly in ‘advanced’ stages of discussions over the provision of chipsets that support NaVIC which is the short form for NAVigation with Indian Constellation. NavIC is India’s autonomous regional satellite navigation system that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services.

“Qualcomm has announced that its chip is going to have NaVIC and they are releasing it. Now almost Xiaomi is in agreement to have it. Xiaomi may launch its mobile phones with NavIC chipsets,” says a PTI report quoting an ISRO official.

Qualcomm Technologies in collaboration with ISRO announced its support for NavIC in select chipset platforms of the company in October 2019. Qualcomm has developed and tested the chipset platform across its portfolio, which can support the Indian regional navigation satellite system. The first-ever NavIC demonstration using the Snapdragon Mobile Platforms was showcased by Qualcomm at the India Mobile Congress 2019.

What Is NaVIC And How Does ISRO Version of GPS Function?

NaVIC, which means sailor or navigator in Sankrit, is actually the operational name for Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). NavIC basically provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services. NaVIC provides two types of services, which are as follows:

1. Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users.
2. Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to authorised users.

The NaVIC system, according to ISRO, is capable of providing a position accuracy of better than 20m in the primary service area. The Space Applications Centre says that NAVIC will provide standard positioning service to all users with a position accuracy of up to 5m, which is better than the GPS position accuracy of 20 to 30m. Some of the applications of NaVIC are listed as follows:

  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Disaster Management
  • Precise Timing
  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation

NaVIC currently has seven operating satellite constellations; however, ISRO plans to increase the number of satellites in the constellation from 7 to 11 to extend coverage.