Beidou is China’s independently developed global navigation satellite system. Its name means the Big Dipper. And the system is ready for more applications on the civilian markets, especially for automobiles.
We have been waiting for someone to make a step in producing higher quality GPS tracking and also to bring the price way down. It looks like this Chines company is heading in the right direction, with its GPS chip price coming down to US$5. That has to mean that combined with mass produce in car telemetry systems, including the price of inertia and other sensors that we get another step to much safer cars.
In the interview they say that along with base stations (now there’s a bit of a catch, but I think that is an element that national Governments need to work out for the common good). Our current GPS systems such as on your mobile or portable navigation device, have a range of around 10 meters unless a lot of additional technology is used (gyros and inertia sensors are also coming down in price). We also still have issues with urban canyons, natural canyons and interference from local conditions.
The say in this interview that they can track a vehicle to its correct lane. Now that is something to aspire too, especially for vehicle safety and if the price is right. Of course as per several of my recent blogs, being able to place you in a lane means that the geospatial base is also accurate.
If the map data is 10 meters out (not uncommon) but the GPS is accurate, the nav system on your self driven or driverless car, could be telling you to drive up the wrong side of the freeway. There is more to this story than a great satellite network and accurate, low cost GPS.