It has been announced a major contract has been awarded for the construction of satellites for the European Galileo system. This means, all being well, users of satellite technology should have access to more accurate positioning from around 2014. With the increase of smart phones which have Global Positioning System and Galileo access as standard features could this mean the beginning of the end for the traditional satellite navigation systems we all know and love?

I think that over the next few years there will be an increasing tendency to dump the traditional satellite navigation box and people will gradually move to a combined unit within a smart phone. Having said that I also see an increased market for integrated satellite systems as original equipment as long as the price becomes reasonable. The cost of an integrated unit varies widely between manufacturers and for the more expensive units it can be hard to justify the additional cost. Would you really want to spend over £1000 for an integrated system when you can pick up an aftermarket unit (albeit with less functionality) for around £50.00. There must surely be a good case for lowering the price of fixed units before they price themselves out of the market.

With the introduction of Galileo now more certain there are a lot of potential uses for the technology. E-call we know is already going to happen, but congestion charging, pay for use insurance, advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) and speed limiting could all happen once Galileo is up and running. I can tell you now that this new satellite system will change the way we use our roads and how our vehicles interact with their surroundings forever.

Let’s just hope its all for the better!