Explained: NavIC navigation protocol and why the government wants it on every smartphone – Times of India

GPS or Global Positioning System is a navigation protocol that is owned and developed by the US government. This satellite-based navigation system is the most popular one in the world and it is currently being used by several countries including India. In an attempt to make the nation ‘atmanirbhar’ (self-dependent), the government introduced the NavIC navigation protocol to reduce dependency on GPS and other systems.
Starting next year, the government wants all smartphone makers including Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi to include India’s NavIC navigation system in all new devices. However, this decision has left Apple, Samsung, and other smartphone makers worried as including the support for NavIC will not only incur additional costs but the schedule proposed by the government also has a strict deadline.
What is NavIC
NavIC or Navigation with Indian Constellation is also a satellite-based navigation system that was approved in 2006 and started operating in 2018. NavIC aims to offer more accurate domestic navigation for Indian users.

Currently, this navigation system works with seven satellites that are claimed to cover the entire Indian territory. Amongst these seven satellites, three Geostationary satellites are placed in the lower orbit while the four geosynchronous satellites are placed in much higher orbits which are less prone to obstructions.
Moreover, the NavIC system is comparatively more accurate than GPS as it offers dual frequency bands — L5-band and S-band. The “Made in India” navigation system also claims to offer an improved position accuracy (more than 20 metres) in its primary service area.
Why government wants smartphone makers to include NavIC
The global navigation satellite systems that are controlled by other governments can become inaccessible during hostile situations. So, to avoid such a situation, the Indian government has developed its technology to reduce the country’s dependency on other navigation systems like GPS.
India even wants to expand NavIC as a standard global system that can compete with GPS and has been promoting it since. To achieve this goal, the Indian government wants devices from all companies to support the new standard.

India already uses this navigation system to track public vehicles in the country. NavIC allows Indian enforcement agencies to monitor vehicles which is not possible with other international systems like GPS.
Mobile platforms that already supports NavIC
Multiple Qualcomm chipsets like Snapdragon 865, 765 and a few more are already compatible with the NavIC navigation protocol. Moreover, the newly released Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and 4 Gen 1 SoCs also support NavIC and other global navigation systems.

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