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BeiDou satellite system marches to new era of global services


On July 31, 2020, BDS-3, the global version of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), was formally commissioned, marking the completion of its three-step development process. BDS enters a new era of global services. With the principle of “serving the world and benefiting mankind,” BDS provides seven types of services to users worldwide, including positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) services, a global short-message communication (GSMC) service, a regional short-message communication (RSMC) service, an international search-and-rescue (SAR) service, the BeiDou satellite-based augmentation system (BDSBAS), the BDS/GNSS ground-based augmentation system (BDGAS), and the precise point positioning (PPP) service. BDS has been continuously making contributions to improving GNSS capabilities and promoting the development of GNSS applications and technologies. 

In 2020, as BDS construction was successfully completed, BDS has made fruitful achievements in application development and internationalization. 

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Presently, the BDS PPP service covers China and its surrounding areas. By broadcasting the high-precision orbit and satellite clock error corrections through the B2b signal, the high-precision positioning service is provided, while initial testing measurements show that the positioning accuracies are about 0.18 m horizontally and 0.26 m vertically (95% confidence).

Industrial Applications

BDS has been widely used in various fields, including communication and transportation, public security, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery, hydrological monitoring, meteorological forecasting, time synchronization, power dispatching, and disaster prevention and mitigation. Significant economic and social benefits have been generated.

In the field of transportation, in the first three quarters of 2020, more than 7 million road vehicles were using BDS. The number of postal and express delivery vehicles using BDS reached 314,000, and the number of ships is about 1,369. In general aviation, 300 planes are using BDS.

In agriculture, BDS-based automatic steering systems are on more than 45,000 pieces of agricultural machinery and equipment, saving 50% of the labor cost. BDS-based agricultural machinery operation supervision platforms are serving 10 million units of agricultural machinery equipment, greatly improving management and operational efficiency.

In forestry, the BDS positioning and short message communication services are widely used in forest fire prevention, natural forest protection, forest inspection, pest control and so on.

In the fishery field, BDS provides fishery managers and fishing vessels with ship position monitoring, emergency rescue, information dissemination, vessel management and other services. BDS terminals have been installed on more than 70,000 fishing boats and law enforcement vessels in China. More than 10,000 people have been saved.

For disaster prevention and mitigation, a three-level platform covering the national ministries and the provinces was built to offer six-tier application services, deploying more than 45,000 BDS terminals.

BDS plays an important role in the emergency response to major disasters such as flooding in South China and forest fire in Southwest China this year. BDS is accelerating entry into new infrastructural construction, and is deeply integrated with new technologies such as next-generation communication, blockchain, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and more. New modes, formats and markets for BDS applications are constantly emerging.

Mass-Market Applications. BDS-based navigation and positioning services have been adopted by various enterprises in the fields of e-commerce, smart mobile terminals, location-based services, the sharing economy and people’s livelihood, profoundly changing people’s production and lifestyles. Just like water and electricity, BDS provides public services that are easily accessible and available on demand. In smartphone applications, domestic and international mainstream chip manufacturers have released communication-navigation integrated chips compatible with BDS. More than 90% of mobile-phone companies applying for access to China’s domestic network support BDS positioning. Smartphones from Huawei, MI, Apple, VIVO, OPPS and other big brands in China are BDS-enabled.