By Venkatachari Jaganthan
The common man in India has to wait for some more time to use the “Indian GPS’ as the Indian vigation system has to be formally declared operatiol after checking and cross-checking, industry officials said.
They also said government mandating the use of the Indian Regiol vigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will act as a booster for the domestic manufacturing of satellite sigl receivers as a part of the Make in India initiative.
India on Thursday put into orbit its seventh vigation satellite — IRNSS-1G — and joined a select group of space-faring tions with their own satellite vigation system. Simply put, the IRNSS is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US, Gloss of Russia, and Galileo of Europe as well as Chi’s Beidou.
According to India Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the applications of IRNSS are: terrestrial, aerial and marine vigation, vehicle tracking and fleet magement, terrestrial vigation for hikers and travellers, disaster magement, integration with mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture and visual and voice vigation for drivers.
“The Indian system provides positiol accuracy of 10 metres. For civilian usage to bloom and the cost to come down, more manufacturers have to start making the vigation sigl receivers. That will happen once the IRNSS is formally declared operatiol,” A.S. Ganeshan, retired programme director of ISRO’s Satellite vigation Progamme, told IANS.
He said the satellite vigation system comprises three segments — space (satellites), ground (ground systems) and user (receivers). The Indian space agency has to test all the three segments thoroughly before IRNSS could be declared an operatiol vigation system.
Ganeshan said once the IRNSS is ready, there will be greater development of application software that would be useful for different segments.
The IRNSS will provide two types of services - standard positioning service and restricted service. The former is provided to all users and the latter is an encrypted service for authorised users. Once the system is fully operatiol, India will not have to face of risk of the absence of satellite sigls at critical times as the existing systems are owned by other countries.
While the defence forces would get the IRNSS sigl receivers from the manufacturers, the challenge for deeper penetration of the Indian vigation system depends on the makers of sigl receivers.
“The Indian government should mandate the use of indigenous satellite vigation systems by various government agencies and the emergency services like ambulance and others so that the sigl receiver makers are enthused to get into accelerated production mode,” Ganeshan added.
He said once the mandatory usage is there, more software applications could then be developed, thereby widening the usage.
Agreeing with him, S. Purushotham, director, Accord Software & Systems Pvt Ltd, told IANS: “If there is a mandate then it will give a big fillip for the receiver makers’ Make in India efforts.”
Nevertheless, Accord Software will get into making the IRNSS receivers as the company is confident that the Indian vigation system will soon be declared operatiol, Purushotham remarked.
The Bengaluru-based Accord Software clocked a turnover of around Rs.100 crore ($15 million) last year and has around 400 people on its rolls, Purushotham said.
“We are the only company to develop the receivers for IRNSS. We have delivered to ISRO and other agencies through ISRO for use in land and marine applications,” he said.
Speaking about the the cost for the common man, Purushotham said it would depend on the volumes though the equipment will be priced competitively with that of GPS receivers.
According to Ganeshan, it will not be right to compare the seven-satellite IRNSS with that of the US GPS as the latter system consists of 24 satellites.
“The Indian system should be given some time before comparisons could be made,” Ganeshan said.
“India will not be content with the constellation of seven vigation satellites and it will launch more such satellites,” he added. IANS