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Technology Beidou, China's GPS alternative, is now complete

18:32  23 june  2020
18:32  23 june  2020 Source:   engadget.com

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China’s own global navigation system is now complete. Today, the country launched the last of the satellites that comprise its Beidou Navigation Satellite System, CNBC reports. Beidou has long been seen as an alternative to the US government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS), and it’s part of a larger push to increase China’s tech influence globally.

a large ship with smoke coming out of it: A Long March-3B carrier rocket carrying the Beidou-3 satellite, the last satellite of China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System, takes off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, China June 23, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT. A Long March-3B carrier rocket carrying the Beidou-3 satellite, the last satellite of China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System, takes off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, China June 23, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.

China began planning its own system in the late 90s, and the first version of Beidou was in service by 2000. This is the third phase of Beidou, and it’s seen as the completion of the system, which shouldn’t need another major upgrade until 2035.

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Beidou now has global coverage. As of late last year, about 70 percent of Chinese smartphones already supported Beidou, and more than 100 partners had lined up to use the mapping tech, Nikkei reported. In 2013, China’s ministry of transport began mandating that vehicles used for transporting “dangerous articles,” passenger buses and heavy-duty trucks use Beidou.

Now complete, the system ensures that China won’t lose access to global navigation in the event of military conflict with the US. Beidou should provide commercial and civilian benefits, too.

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