29 Sep '14
China and Russia could form a single navigational space in the coming years. Negotiations on the harmonization of equipment standards for the Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system and the Chinese Beidou system started this summer, East-West Digital News, the first all English-language online resource dedicated to Russian digital industries, last week, citing the Russian daily Izvestia.
The most important direction for the planned extensive cooperation is the harmonization of standards, especially at the level of navigation and information systems in transportation, according to Evgeny Belyanko, the VP of GLONASS. One of the main goals is the harmonization of standards along the Silk Road, the route crossing Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan and China.
A number of pilot projects are in consideration relating to the provision of navigation and information services to users of vehicles involved in the cross-border business.
GLONASS states that Chinese partners are interested in the already deployed Russian emergency response system (ERA-GLONASS). The system, which automates the transmission of SOS signals from a vehicle to the rescue service and which allows the implementation of other telematic services, is expected to be formally launched across the Customs Union [Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan] in 2015.
Around the same period, the EU is set to launch a similar system called eCall, which will have interconnectivity with ERA-GLONASS. Chinese authorities have not yet decided on the organization of their own national system, but, according to Russian experts, they are preparing to do so in the near future.
According to Mr. Belyanko, collaboration with Chinese partners will also center on projects in the field of microelectronics. Here, the main task is not just to create a unique chipset but to ensure customers are guaranteed access to the navigational signals of GLONASS and Beidou. Most civilian navigational receivers operate with all existing satellite systems and, theoretically, access to one of the systems can be blocked – for example, by reprogramming the device software. In order to guarantee consumer access to these systems, regardless of the political situation on the ground, there must be independent suppliers from different parts of the world.
Russian companies have sharply stepped up cooperation with Chinese companies after the announcement of technological sanctions by the USA in the spring and summer of this year. This includes the process of replacing American components used on spacecraft with Chinese-made counterparts. In August, Jao Chunchao, the VP of China’s state industrial corporation Great Wall, announced at a conference in Moscow that the Chinese authorities are ready to lift restrictions on the exports of electronic components for space-based applications to Russia.
Mr. Chunchao added that while the demands of Russian producers in some areas are different from what is produced in China, Chinese companies are ready to organize the development and manufacture of microelectronics to specifically meet the needs of Russian manufacturers.