Context: The Union government is putting pressure on tech giants to make smartphones compatible with its in-house navigation system within the next few months, which has tech giants like Samsung, Xiaomi, and Apple worried about increased costs and disruptions because the move necessitates hardware changes.

About NavIC:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation  (ISRO) developed the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) known as Navigation in Indian Constellation (NavIC).
  • Seven satellites will make up its constellation because it is a regional system. Four of these will be geosynchronous, or appearing at the same location in the sky at the same time every day, and three of them will be geostationary, or appearing to be stationary in the sky over the Indian Ocean. With a high likelihood that the majority of them are visible from any location in India, this configuration guarantees that each satellite is being tracked by at least one of fourteen ground stations at any given time.
  • It will provide geolocation services to areas within 1500 KM radius around the Indian subcontinent.
  • The "standard positioning service," which is available for civilian use, and the "restricted service," which is an encrypted one for authorised users, are the two levels of service that NavIC will offer (including the military).
  • Unlike GPS which is dependent only on L-band, NavIC has dual frequency (S and L band frequencies).
  • The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a global organisation for coordinating mobile telephony standards, has certified it.
  • In the main service area, the IRNSS System is anticipated to deliver position accuracy of better than 20 m.
  • India became the fourth nation in the world to have the International Maritime Organisation recognised independent regional navigation satellite system (IMO) after US (GPS), Russia (GLONASS), and China (BeiDou Navigation Satellite System).

Potential uses:

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers.
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
  • Disaster Management.
  • Integration with mobile phones.
  • Precise Timing.
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture.

Significance of NavIC:

  • It will encourage healthy competition among different navigation services and could result in sizable financial gains for the nation.
  • NAVIC would also encourage technological innovations and spin-offs that gradually lessen India's dependence on imported technology.
  • In order to provide users with services at different costs depending on the level of navigational precision they require, India can combine NAVIC with GAGAN, its indigenous augmentation system.
  • When used in conjunction with current GPS-enabled solutions, NAVIC's interoperability with GPS can ensure the reduction of technical hiccups.
  • It will improve India’s capacity to work as a net security provider in the region.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS), the US equivalent, was crucial in the relief efforts following disasters like the tsunami in the Indian Ocean region in 2004 and the earthquake in Pakistan and India in 2005.
  • It will aid in long-distance navigation and provide information to fishermen about the locations of valuable fisheries and any sea disturbances.
  • Utilising geographic data will aid in better planning and urban development.
  • It will aid in tracking threatened species, improved forest fire prevention, and other things.