December 15th 2016 is an historical day for both the #European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA), as the constellation of European navigation satellites (appropriately) named Galileo starts providing its first navigation and high-precision positioning services to the world.
The first stage of the #Galileo programme began back in 2003, and the main purpose of it is to make Europe technologically independent from the American GPS, and to offer a much more accurate positioning system than what is available today.
As the GPS was built primarily to serve the #American military forces, its civilian capabilities are limited, and can be shut down whenever the U.S. government or authorities feel the need to.
The Galileo system will be available at its full precision and capabilities to both civil and military users. Today, there are 18 #satellites around the #Earth, and by 2020 its number should rise up to 20.
The latest ESA press release about Galileo mentions three important scenarios that will greatly benefit from the Galileo high-precision services: a) rescue operations, where a missing person using a Galileo device at a remote location can be found in less than 10 minutes, rather than the hours needed today; b) after 2018, every car sold in Europe should use Galileo location services as a support to the eCall emergency system; c) synchronisation between telecommunications, banking and critical infrastructure services will have a much greater precision and robustness.
It is also believed that the new generation of #technologies heavily-dependant on location services, such as autonomous cars, connected devices and smart cities, will greatly benefit from the Galileo technology. European #entrepreneurs are also being asked to imagine and develop new services that take advantage of the 'power' of this new European #technology.