Although the India-designed chip is currently made in Taiwan, the company behind it is keen to shift production here once domestic facilities are in place.
In what could potentially be a game-changer for location-based services, Bengaluru-based Elena Geo Systems has launched an indigenously designed chip to meet the requirements of services ranging from cab aggregators to defence.
The chip that works using Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) based on the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), could form the core of the navigation, positioning and timing applications in India.
“There are many foreign companies supplying chips to India. We all heard how during the Covid-19 pandemic and in the period thereafter there was a chip shortage in India,” founder and chief technology officer of the company, Lt Col (Retd) VS Velan, told Business Today Thursday.
The two-year period especially saw several automakers postponing the launch of their new models due to chip shortages. To avoid a similar situation from arising in the navigational domain, the IIT-Kharagpur incubated research & development company Elena Geo Systems went ahead with designing the chip.
“The chip has 12-nanometre technology, consumes minimal power and can be controlled through software. That makes it ideal for use in a mobile, handheld or wearable device,” informed Lt Col Velan.
Although the chip is currently fabricated in Taiwan, Elena Geo Systems is keen to shift its production to India once the manufacturing capability is established here.
The multi-frequency, multi-constellation chip is compact and can easily be integrated into any global navigation satellite system (GNSS) circuit to provide continuous and accurate reception to the user. Based on a special algorithm for use across the country and its neighbourhood, the chip conforms to the requirements laid down by the national space agency the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for IRNSS signal reception, the company claimed in a release.
Elaborating on the chip’s use cases, Lt Col Velan said, “It can also be utilised by cab aggregator services such as Ola and Uber, whose core system is currently based on GPS. If they migrate to NavIC using our chip, it will help them improve their efficiencies. Since NavIC doesn’t have any blackouts there is no loss in signal.”
“Similarly, the chip can be used to improve the productivity at the 500 plus open pit mines in India within a year of implementation,” he added.
The dual-use chip can also be put to military use in handheld devices on land, and water, for operational logistics, ships, submarines, radars, drones, artillery weapons and weapons platforms.
The chip was released by chief of defence staff Gen. Anil Chauhan on the last day of a symposium conducted by the apex industry body the Indian Space Association (ISpA).