Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No. 715: Developing industrial applications of the high-precision Japanese GPS (May 15, 2013)

A total of about 200 companies including Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi Electric will establish an industry-government-academia research organization coming July to promote industrial applications of the Japanese GSP. The currently-used GPS analyzes the radio waves coming from U.S satellites to figure out a position. The Japanese GPS uses 4-7 quasi zenith satellites going around in the sky above the region from Japan and Australia describing a figure of eight. With the quasi-zenith satellite system, the error will decrease from 10 m to less than 1 m, and ultimately to less than several tens of centimeters. The organization plans to start substantiative experiment toward 2016. The “Michibiki (guidance)” launched in September 2010 is currently in operation. It stays just above Japan for eight hours a day. The Japanese government has decided to launch three quasi satellites to set up a four-satellite system by 2018.

With the technology to be realized by the Japanese GPS, it will be possible to increase the guide precision of the car navigation system and the accident prevention function of a vehicle. Other applications include precise operation and control of aircraft, even smoother train operation, detailed instructions on cropping system, optimal pesticide spraying, automated operation of farm equipment, precise control of construction machinery, and elaborate services for sightseers looking for a sightseeing spot with a smartphone in hand. The Japanese GPS can be used in the areas covered by the quasi zenith satellites including East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia. The Cabinet Office reckons that the position information service in the Asia and Oceania regions will grow to about 11 trillion yen in 2020, accounting for 20% of the world market.  

 Japan's first quasi zenith satellite "Michibiki (Guidance)"

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