India is looking to localize its navigation support by adopting NavIC instead of GPS. The government has reportedly discussed the change with phone brands like Xiaomi and Samsung, and soon you can rely on NavIC for basic navigation purposes.

NavIC or Navigation with Indian Constellation was developed by ISRO and is considered as the best alternative to GPS operated by the US government. So what is NavIC, how does it work, how is it different from GPS and more? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is NavIC

NavIC is the Indian version of the Global Positioning System (GPS) that we’ve been using for years, and ISRO is working with chip maker Qualcomm to integrate it into the lineup of chipsets they manufacture. NavIC is currently used for emergency location tracking and vehicle tracking.

But the main focus for NavIC has always been on smartphone navigation that helps users get an Uber order or order food via Swiggy or Zomato to their location. NavIC will provide two types of location services – a standard positioning service as well as an encrypted service for security and military access. The NavIC system relies on 7 satellites, of which 3 are in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) and 4 are in Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO).

How is NavIC different from GPS?

The Global Positioning System, or GPS, was developed and operated by the United States. NavIC was developed in India ISRO and offers the Government of India better control over the system, which was one of the main reasons for the origin of NavIC. It has given India its own navigation system that will work even with geopolitical tensions in the future. Also, with a local system in place, navigation accuracy is bound to be better.

With NavIC, India joins the group of countries that have their own positioning system, which includes Russia (GLONASS), European Union (Galileo) and China (BeiDou Navigation Satellite System).

Do we have NavIC enabled phones in India?

Yes, Qualcomm already has the Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 662, and Snapdragon 460 processors for budget and mid-range Android smartphones that use the NavIC positioning system for location services. Brands like Xiaomi and Realme have also launched NavIC-enabled phones, but global players still use GPS for navigation.

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