The European Union’s satellite navigation system Galileo is expected to reach the one billion user mark worldwide, the European Commission announced.
The announcement marks a new milestone for the EU’s multibillion-euro rival system to the United States’ U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).
The EU’s Internal Market Commissioner, Poland’s Elżbieta Bieńkowska, said in a statement that as of Tuesday, Galileo would provide “high-quality timing and navigation services to one billion smartphone users globally.”
The achievement is the result of a “truly European effort” to build the most “accurate navigation system in the world,” she added.
Launched in 2016, Galileo operates with 26 orbiting satellites, out of a total of 30 planned to be put in orbit. The system, working for now in complement with its American counterpart, is expected to become fully operational by 2020.
The system’s current location precision has gone from ten kilometres to less than two kilometres, and it aims to provide location services with a precision of one metre, as well as to deploy a new global Search and Rescue Service (SAR) capable of reducing rescue times at sea, the mountains or deserts, the statement says.
The one billion smartphone users milestone was calculated through the number of devices equipped with Galileo sold worldwide.
Several rail and aerial transportation are also capable of navigating via Galileo, and, additionally, all new car models approved for the European market are equipped with a Galileo-based emergency-location transmitter system.