NavIC, the Indian Alternative to GPS Navigation

NavIC, the Indian Alternative to GPS Navigation

  • Tech News
  • September 27, 2022
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Indian government pressures smartphone manufacturers to enable NavIC support on new devices sold in the country.

The Indian government is pressuring smartphone makers to support its NavIC navigation system in new devices to be sold in the country from next year, a move that has spooked the industry due to extra costs. and a tight time frame.

Here are the details of the creation, why India wants smartphone manufacturers to adopt it, and how the system compares to other global or regional navigation systems.

NavIC, or Navigation with Indian Constellation, is an autonomous and independent satellite navigation system developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).


NavIC was originally approved in 2006 at a cost of $174 million. It was expected to be completed by the end of 2011 but was only commissioned in 2018.

NavIC consists of eight satellites and covers the entire landmass of India and up to 1,500 kilometers (930 mi) from its border.

Currently, the use of NavIC is limited. It is used in public vehicle tracking in India, to provide emergency warning alerts to fishermen venturing into deep waters where there is no land network connection, and to track and provide information related to natural disasters.

Enabling it on smartphones is the next step India is pushing.

The main difference is the useful area covered by these systems. GPS serves users all over the world and its satellites orbit the Earth twice a day, while NavIC is currently used in India and nearby areas.

Like GPS, three other navigation systems have global coverage: the European Union’s Galileo, Russia’s GLONASS, and China’s Beidou. QZSS, operated by Japan, is another regional navigation system that covers the Asia-Pacific region, with a focus on Japan.

India’s draft Satellite Navigation Policy 2021 stipulated that the government would “extend coverage from regional to global” to ensure NavIC signal availability anywhere in the world.

The Indian government said in August that the Navik system was “as good as GPS in the United States in terms of location accuracy.”


India says the company design is aimed at eliminating reliance on foreign satellite systems for navigation service requirements, particularly in “strategic sectors”.

India says that relying on systems like GPS and GLONASS may not always be reliable as they are operated by the respective countries’ defense agencies and civil services may deteriorate or be rejected.

The government said in 2021: “NavIC is the original GPS under Indian control. There is no risk of withdrawal or denial of service in a particular case.”

India also wants to encourage its ministries to use NavIC applications to boost the local industry involved in developing native NavIC-based solutions.

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