China’s rival to GPS is nearly completed after years of work. Project lead Ren Chengqi has revealed that the Beidou Navigation Satellite System’s core was completed earlier in December and that the last two satellites should achieve orbit “earlier than 2020.” This can technically be the third part of Baidou, which first rolled out in 2000. However, it represents the result of the satellite system in its present form. You won’t see a significant upgrade till 2035, Ran said.
Most Chinese customers will not lift a finger to take advantage of the new network. About 70 % of Chinese smartphones already assist Beidou, according to Nikkei. There are already 120 companions lined up to make use of Beidou for mapping technology.
As with Russia’s GLONASS, China’s push for self-developed navigation is all about independence. The US runs GPS, and that gives it the choice of impairing access within the title of its political and military interests. Beidou ensures that location services continue unhindered, and offers China positioning that goes well with growing technology like 5G and self-driving cars.