The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will transfer technology to companies to help them build navigational devices for a variety of applications, including smartphones. The decsion to share the technology is driven by its aim to get more users to use the homegrown NavIC network for finding routes across the country.
NavIC or (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is the country’s constellation of seven navigation satellites — India’s alternative to the US GPS network. The Navigation tool, which has been used for strategic purposes so far, provides positioning accuracy of five metres.
This will help in loss of lives of fishermen and alert them from entering the waters of the neighbouring countries, he said.
The system was developed after the Kerala government approached the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) following Cyclone Ockhi that claimed lives of fishermen who did not get timely information about the approaching disaster in December last year.
Nilesh Desai, Deputy Director of the ISRO’s Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad said the low-cost device can also give information about the location of fish available in the sea.
“There is no mobile network coverage in the deep seas. The gadget that is to be mounted to the device will have a bluetooth connectivity and through our NaVIC messaging feature, we will give more information on prospective storms,” he said at a panel discussion organised at the Bengaluru Space Expo.
The bluetooth will be connected to mobile phone that will display messages.
On a pilot basis starting in January, around 500 satellite-enabled communication gadgets, manufactured with ISRO’s technology, are set to be fitted in fishing boats and deep-sea vessels in the state. In the event of changing weather like strong winds or cyclone, fishermen, out at sea, can be warned about the same.
“This device has a receiver, it doesn’t have a transmitter. So, it only allows now for one-way communication. It is an established and proven system,” said MC Dathan, scientific advisor to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The ISRO has teamed up with Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for the transmission of messages using the NAVIC system. A master control room, set up at Thiruvananthapuram, and six regional control rooms near main harbours such as Kochi, Kollam and Kozhikode will be a part of the warning system.
“Messages can be sent to fishermen up to 1500 kilometres. We will be sending daily updates of the sea state, current wave conditions and whether there will be extreme weather events,” said Dr Balakrishnan Nair, a scientist at INCOIS.