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Galileo, EU's satellite navigation system, reached 1 billion smartphone users

on 17 September 2019

Europe's own satellite navigation system, Galileo, reached 1 billion smartphone users, on 10 September 2019, the same day of the 15th anniversary of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), EU’s partner in operating Galileo.

The system is offering initial services for positioning, navigation and timing signals since December 2016. Today 95% of companies that produce smartphone chips for satellite navigation make chips that enable Galileo. 

The ‘1 billion users' milestone is based on the number of smartphones using Galileo sold across the world. The actual number of Galileo users is larger. In Europe, all new car models approved for the market are equipped with the eCall system, which uses Galileo to communicate the vehicle's location to emergency services. Since this year, Galileo is integrated in the digital tachographs of lorries — a speed and distance recording device — to ensure the respect of driving time rules and improve road safety.

Galileo has also been providing crucial Search and Rescue (SAR) Service, reducing the time it takes to detect a person equipped with a distress beacon to less than 10 minutes at sea, in mountains or deserts. With Galileo, the accuracy of localisation has improved from 10 km to less than 2 km. In the future, the system will also confirm to the person that help is on the way.

Finally, Galileo supports public authorities with its Public Regulated Service, for sensitive security use. It offers a robust and fully encrypted service for government users during national emergencies or crisis, such as terrorist attacks, to ensure continuity of services.

Image credit: ESA–G. Porter, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO