Qualcomm unveils mobile chipsets supporting Isro's NavIC navigation system

Qualcomm Technologies has released chipsets, supporting India's own navigation system 'Navigation with Indian Constellation' (NavIC), which is similar to the US's Global Positioning System (GPS). 

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said it provided consultation to Qualcomm towards enabling NavIC capability in their Snapdragon mobile chipset. 

"The release of chipsets will help accelerate the adoption of NavIC by smartphone OEMs. The OEMs can now release any new models for Indian market which are NavIC enabled, thus eventually making NavIC as a standard feature in the upcoming handsets, applications, processors, etc. It will also enhance the geolocation capabilities of smartphones within the coverage region of NavIC," said ISRO.

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, in collaboration with ISRO has developed and tested in select chipset platforms across their upcoming portfolio to support Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), NavIC.

The initiative will help accelerate the adoption of NavIC and enhance the geolocation capabilities of mobile, automotive and the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in the region – with the backing of engineering talent in India.

The solution is built on Qualcomm Technologies’ leading foundational inventions in location-based position technology. As part of the updated platforms, the Qualcomm Location Suite now supports up to 7 satellite constellations at the same time, including the use of all of NavIC’s operating satellites for more accurate location performance, faster time-to-first-fix (TTFF) position acquisition, and improved robustness of location-based services.

These enhancements will enable select mobile, automotive and IoT platforms to better serve key industries and technology ecosystems in the region and will help improve user experience for location-based applications especially in dense urban environments where geolocation accuracy tends to degrade, said the company earlier.

K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space earlier said, “NavIC is a critical step forward in our pursuit of harnessing space technology for national development and we are eager to make it accessible to everyone for their day to day use,"

"Qualcomm’s technology leadership and support for NavIC on their mobile platforms will bring the benefits of this indigenous solution to every Indian. ISRO appreciates Qualcomm for enabling the technology demonstration of NavIC support on mobile platform for the very first time,” he added.

Support for NavIC will be available in select Qualcomm Technologies’ chipset platforms and commercial devices with NavIC support.

To date, ISRO has built a total of nine satellites in the IRNSS series, of which eight are currently in orbit. The constellation is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area.

It is designed to provide two types of services - Standard Positioning Service (SPS), which is provided to all users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users. The system is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area. The name NavIC was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after successful launch of the seventh navigation satellite, in April, 2016.

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