U.S. Government Wary of Upcoming Russian Glonass Mandates

[Satellite TODAY Insider 06-02-11] U.S. government trade officials criticized the Russian Ministry of Transport for proposing laws mandating Glonass equipment installation in all new cars sold in Russia, calling them ‘unfair.’ The legislation would also place import taxes on satellite-navigations receivers using GPS technology.
    Russia’s Glonass satellite-navigation system is similar to the U.S.-developed GPS system, although Russian authorities claim that Glonass is more accurate at 6 meters, compared with GPS’ 7-meter accuracy. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a strong supporter of the system once designed exclusively for military use, has claimed that the Glonass system operating at full 24-satellite capacity can improve accuracy up to 2-3 meters.
    “A top government priority for Glonass is tracking automobiles and helping motorists find routes. All lorries operating in Russia will, by the end of 2014, be equipped with a Glonass-technology transponder, which will assist the government in collecting road tax and providing quick assistance in case of accidents,” Russian Vice Premier Sergei Ivanov said in a statement. “Testing of the ERA lorry-tracking system will begin by the end of 2011.”
    The new laws are part of Russia’s plan to accelerate the pace of Glonass satellite launches after the Roskosmos Space Agency experienced a $160 million setback in December, when a rocket carrying three Glonass satellites failed to deploy the spacecraft to its correct orbit. Glonass-M is set to launch in August, and three more will strengthen the orbital group by December.
    The laws are unclear as to how hybrid Glonass/GPS systems would be taxed. U-blox recently completed a demonstration of an enhanced LEA-6H GPS module, which also supports Glonass navigation. “The successful blending of GPS and Glonass functionality demonstrates the flexibility of U-blox’s hardware and firmware receiver technology. We will be ready to mass produce GPS/GLONASS receivers once the system is fully operational,” U-blox America President Nikolaos Papadopoulos said in a statement. “First customer samples of the u-blox GPS/Glonass receivers are scheduled for the second half of 2011.”

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