GAGAN: India’s SBAS system is now operational
The GPS aided geo-augmented navigation (GAGAN), jointly developed by the Indian Space Research Organization and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is now operational and can be used by the aviation industry. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India certified GAGAN for use on the 30th of December, 2013 (Source: The Hindu).
What does this mean?
Although GAGAN signals were available for few months now, the corrections that were being sent by the system was considered not fit for safety-of-life operations i.e. for aircraft navigation, etc. With the DGCA certifying GAGAN, one could use the SBAS corrections with full confidence.
All aircrafts flying over the Indian airspace and adjacent areas will be able to make use of the SBAS corrections. The availability of GAGAN in fully operational mode will help bridge the gap between the European and Japanese SBAS services EGNOS and MSAS respectively. For the civil aviation industry this means increased fuel savings (thanks to much more accurate navigation), improved vertical guidance at runways, fewer ground aids for take-off and landing which reduces the workload of flight crew and the Air traffic controllers.
On a personal level, if you have a SBAS capable GNSS receiver, you can easily use the SBAS services from GAGAN by setting your SBAS channel in the receiver to track PRN 127 and 128 provided the receiver is near the coverage area. (more information: SBAS fundamentals)
An update on the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS): ISRO is set to launch IRNSS-1B, IRNSS-1C and IRNSS-1D later this year. ISRO had already IRNSS-1A last year. IRNSS a constellation of 7 satellites, will function as a regional navigation system and is expected to be operational by 2016.
Honda joins the Open Automotive Alliance to develop inboard GPS Solutions
The Connected Car concept has been gaining traction in the past year with numerous car-makers starting to get into the nitty-gritties of making applications for better automotive experience. Applications like BMW M Power drive have captured the imagination of the automotive industry that is constantly looking for ways to seamlessly connect our cars to our mobile devices. Now Honda has announced that it has joined the Open Automotive Alliance to develop inboard automotive information systems that will include GPS Navigation among other things (Source: Asahi).
The Open Automotive Alliance is a group of leading car-makers like Audi, Honda, GM, Hyundai and GOOGLE who have “committed” to bring the Android Platform to car this year! Imagine driving a car with Android OS! It is a well known secret that Google is working on developing Driverless cars (Google’s Self-Driving Car).
I keep repeating this but I really do believe that “Few decades down the lane, Google will be remembered as a manufacturer of self-driving cars whose business started off as a search engine”!
The Open Automotive Alliance is not the first of its kind, a few years ago Toyota had partnered with Microsoft to develop advanced information and communication systems for their Smart Car projects!
This alliance and any further partnerships by Car-makers and information tech companies is going to greatly accelerate the adoption of PND devices into cars and in the future it is going to allow for greater interactions between the car and the navigation devices. Things like Augmented reality based navigation is going to become more and more mainstream!