"We will advocate the use of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS)," said Sun Jiadong, chief designer of BDS and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, during a recent interview with The Beijing News. "The devices we are going to make in the future will be compatible, so that Beidou can function properly and independently even if something goes wrong with the GPS.
Sun Jiadong, chief designer of BDS and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He added that it is the only way to ensure the protection of national information.
"Safety issues abound in economic areas," said Sun. "Ordinary people may have few concerns about the security of information but it is of vital significance."
The development of Beidou also largely depends on the government's involvement.
"Even though the enterprises spare no effort in developing the system, the products they make would not be available for mass production, which will in turn be reflected by the prices. The government has to promote the research and development of the system."
Sun cited the governments of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou as examples of local governments that were effectively helping to develop the BDS.
The use of Beidou could go beyond basic navigation functions and extend to the civilian market.
It would take longer for the BDS to be available for civilians, said Sun. The use of Beidou on mobile phones relies on the development of a small and power-efficient chip. Otherwise the phone cannot be used.
When asked about when and how the cost of developing the BDS will be recovered, Sun reiterated that Beidou was developed to ensure the security of national information, and not to make profits.
The Beidou global navigation system will be available by 2020 with the launching of more than 30 satellites.