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EU's Galileo satellite system goes live.

Galileo Satellite
Galileo satellites
Galileo satellites

 The EU's Galileo satellite system has gone live, aiming to supply the world's most accurate satellite navigation technology.

It follows 17 years of development, plagued by delays and budget increases.

The 18 satellites initially launched will be of only limited use at first for smartphones and in-car systems.

But officials hope the system will eventually provide greater location accuracy than either the US or Russian military services.

As the programme went into operation, European Commission officials signed contracts with technology companies to provide the microchips that enable applications to use Galileo information.

Vice-President of the European Commission Marco Sefcovic said Galileo would increase geo-location precision 10-fold - to within one metre compared to the current US-controlled Global Positioning System (GPS), which is accurate only to within several metres - when it becomes fully operational in 2020.

He said it would "enable the next generation of location-based technologies; such as autonomous cars, connected devices, or smart city services".

More information here.