Geely Auto Corp is China’s largest automaker, headquartered in Hangzhou, China. On Monday, Geely announced that it plans to construct a satellite production facility along with a testing centre somewhere in the port city of Taizhou.
The main business of the firm involves automotive manufacturing. It owns and manages the Geely Auto Group, Volvo Car Group and the Geely Commercial Vehicles. It has expanded its business to manufacture many vehicles that include trucks, high-speed trains, Volvo vehicles and even passenger drones for that matter. But the company’s latest venture is something, which would help in connecting all of these. Geely plans on starting its network of satellites.
Geely announced the construction of a satellite production in the port city of Taizhou. It is situated in the Zhejiang province, a place that Geely considers as equivalent to its home. Once the centre has been set up, it would have the capability to construct a variety of different kinds of satellite models. Out of all these, there could be a few which could be built for non-Geely entities.
Geely has stated that its plans regarding the kick-off of satellite networks might start immediately after this year ends. However, it has not revealed anything with regards to the size of the network. According to a few news reports, the company is investing about $326 million into the whole project, and it has set a target to build about 500 satellites in a year.
These would be low-orbit satellites. According to a statement made by Geely, these satellites would have the capability of high-speed data transmission, precise navigation, and cloud computing. These satellites would also be able to provide quick over-the-air updates to all its vehicles. And at the same time, they would also be providing appropriate and useful content to the leaders of the firm.
Geely’s satellites would be different as compared to the ones being built by SpaceX and OneWeb. Also, Geely’s satellites would not be used for standard internet connections.
Geely also feels that the navigating ability of these satellites could be quite precise and accurate. The accuracy factor of the present GPS satellites could be ranging to several meters, owing to their high-orbits. Comparatively, as Geely satellites would be low-orbit ones, their accuracy factor could be pretty high, like within a centimetre. A representative of the firm highlighted that apart from cars, this accuracy would be extremely important for unmanned flights too.
If at all the world ever starts to have autonomous cars running on its roads, then one can imagine what would be the requirement of in-car connectivity then. In such scenarios, having a satellite network of their own could turn out to be extremely crucial for automakers. The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has been questioned repeatedly about this when Tesla’s competitor firm SpaceX, started coming up with its Starlink satellite network. However, presently, Musk does not seem too keen on exploring his vehicles with Starlink satellites as the hardware would be too much for the car to handle.
Musk had stated sometime in January that “The antenna for that high-bandwidth, low-latency [connection] is about the size of a medium pizza, which you could put on a car, but I think it is more bandwidth than you would need.” However, Musk did admit that he would be thinking about this concept in the future.
Image Source: The Verge