Amid rising tensions between China and the US, the former has decided to build its own celestial navigation system to lessen its dependence upon the US-run Global Positioning System (GPS).
As you must know, the world is using location data beamed from the GPS satellites in car navigation systems, smartphones, and even guided missiles. However, the control of these satellites originates back to the US Air Force.
Amid the US-China rivalry, the dependence on a US-controlled navigation system has made the Chinese administration uncomfortable and they called for an alternative.
Notably, the Asian economic giant has its Beidou Navigation System already working in the country and a few of its neighbors. However, the system is operational in China only.
The country is working to make it accessible worldwide by 2020 as a fulfillment of President Xi Jinping’s strategy to make China a global leader in the next-generation technologies.
For the past few years, more than 6.17 million domestic vehicles and 35,000 vehicles of postal services or courier companies in China have installed and become compatible with the BeiDou navigation system.
Around 80,000 of the country’s buses, 370 shops, and domestically-manufactured commercial airplanes have also installed this system.
China is promoting its international use as well, especially for countries included in Belt and Road initiative. In order to make Beidou international, the country is launching new satellites.
It has launched at least 18 satellites this year, three this month for that matter. On Nov. 19, China’s introduction of two new satellites exceeded the total number of machines in operation to over 40.
It aims to add 11 more by 2020, and finally go global.