CHINESE automaker Geely Holding Group announced on Saturday the successful launch of 11 low-earth orbit satellites, marking its second dispatch as part of efforts to bolster navigation capabilities for autonomous vehicles. The satellites were launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province.
Geely plans to expand its satellite network, aiming to have 72 satellites in orbit by 2025 and ultimately establishing a constellation of 240 satellites. This initiative follows the company’s first launch in June 2022.
The primary objective of the satellite network is to provide high-precision positioning support for self-driving cars. Additionally, Geely’s network will offer connectivity services to the consumer electronics sector and serve other commercial functions.
The newly launched satellites are equipped with AI remote sensing capabilities, enabling them to capture clear high-resolution imaging with a resolution ranging from 3.2-16.4 feet, as stated by the company.
While China’s satellite networks have historically been dominated by the military, the government’s decision to allow private investment in the space industry since 2014 has led to a surge in commercial activities. Various commercial companies, some receiving support from local governments, have ventured into satellite manufacturing and small launch vehicles, including reusable rockets.
In line with Beijing’s five-year plan for 2021-2025, China aims to establish an integrated network of satellites for communication, remote sensing, and navigation purposes. Currently, China has deployed over 400 satellites in space, including those owned by commercial entities.