Chinese Automaker Geely Launches Satellites for Autonomous Vehicle Navigation

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. successfully launched a second batch of 11 satellites into low-earth orbit. This initiative, spearheaded by Geely’s subsidiary Geespace, marks a significant milestone in the company’s effort to forge the world’s first commercial satellite network designed to revolutionize autonomous vehicle navigation alongside a host of other technological applications.

Geespace envisions launching a satellite network positioned approximately 600 kilometers (373 miles) above Earth’s surface. This network aims to establish connections with autonomous vehicles, enhance various features in Geely vehicles, and potentially offer connectivity for consumer electronics. With the intensifying competition in China’s auto industry and advancements in space infrastructure, satellite communications are emerging as a significant selling point for consumers.

Geely’s Ambitious Stride into Space

The Geespace Initiative: Bridging the Automotive and Space Frontiers

Geely’s foray into the realm of satellite technology through its Geespace initiative is not just an exploration into new territory but a bold statement of the company’s vision for the future of mobility. With a plan to establish a constellation of 72 satellites by 2025 and an eventual total of 240, Geely aims to cover a broad spectrum of digital life aspects, from autonomous driving to smart connectivity and beyond. These satellites come equipped with AI-based remote sensing capabilities, delivering high-resolution remote sensing images with clarity ranging from one to five meters. Then the remaining 168 satellites will be part of their second phase, focusing on network expansion, aiming to provide worldwide centimeter-level high-precision positioning services. This phase is also anticipated to offer customers cost-effective, yet exceedingly dependable services.

The recent launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center signifies more than just the deployment of satellites; it represents a leap towards realizing a high-tech network that integrates communication, navigation, and remote sensing using a single satellite network. This network is set to provide unparalleled accuracy and reliability in autonomous vehicle navigation, distinguishing Geely’s approach to innovation in the automotive sector. Currently, Geely has integrated satellite communication capabilities into several Geely grouop’s EVs, including Zeekr 001 FR, Zeekr 007, and Geely Galaxy E8 models.

From Orbital Plans to Constellation-Level Deployment

Following the successful launch of the first orbital plane comprising nine satellites in June 2022, Geespace has rapidly advanced in its satellite program. The company has initiated mass production, accomplished orbital plane level deployment, and achieved constellation-level telemetry, tracking, and command capabilities. This rapid progression underscores Geely’s commitment to leveraging space technology to enhance terrestrial applications, particularly in enhancing the capabilities of autonomous vehicles.

Moreover, Geespace’s exploration of new applications for low-orbit satellite networks hints at the vast potential for innovation in areas ranging from mobility and logistics to environmental monitoring and beyond. The integration of satellite technology into everyday applications promises to redefine the boundaries of what is possible, both on the ground and in space.

Expanding Horizons: The Future of Mobility and Beyond

A Global Vision for Autonomous Navigation and Connectivity

Geely’s ambitious satellite network is not just about enhancing the navigation capabilities of autonomous vehicles; it’s about laying the groundwork for a future where seamless connectivity and precise positioning are ubiquitous. By providing a backbone for high-precision, reliable communication and navigation services, Geely aims to empower not only its fleet of vehicles but also a wide range of sectors that depend on accurate, real-time data.

In articulating this vision, the Chief Executive Officer of Geespace, Tony Wang highlighted the forward-looking trajectory of the automotive sector: “The next race for the EV sector is self driving and the Internet of Things service. Telecommunications infrastructure is also moving from 5G to 6G. One of its key features is the wide use of satellite communications and navigations network,” he said. This insight underscores the critical role that satellite technology will play in not only advancing autonomous driving capabilities but also in enabling the next generation of IoT services, as the industry transitions from 5G to 6G telecommunications infrastructure.

The establishment of this satellite constellation also positions Geely as a pioneer in a new era of digital integration, where the convergence of automotive technology and space innovation opens up new frontiers for human progress. As the network expands, Geely’s vision of delivering global, centimeter-level high-precision position services comes closer to fruition, promising to revolutionize how we navigate our world.

Championing Technological Integration and Innovation

As Geely progresses towards completing its satellite constellation, the implications for the automotive industry and beyond are profound. The Geespace initiative underscores Geely’s role not only as an innovator in the automotive space but also as a key player in the burgeoning space industry. By actively exploring new applications for its low-orbit satellite network, Geely is setting the stage for a future where connectivity, navigation, and remote sensing are seamlessly integrated into our digital lives, heralding a new era of technological convergence.

Geely’s Visionary Leap into Space

Geely Holding Group’s successful satellite launches and the ambitious goals of its Geespace initiative highlight a visionary leap into integrating space technology with terrestrial applications. As Geely moves closer to realizing its constellation, the potential for transforming autonomous vehicle navigation and fostering new innovations across various sectors becomes increasingly tangible. This pioneering effort not only propels Geely to the forefront of the automotive and space industries but also paves the way for a future where space technology enhances every aspect of our digital world.

Featured Image courtesy of REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Huey Yee Ong

A creative enthusiast who enjoys art, baking, and sports, delivering insightful reporting with a fresh and unique perspective.