EU seeks input on use of Galileo navigation system

The European Union is seeking comments on the possible uses of its planned Galileo satellite navigation system, which is being developed at a cost of about $4.8 billion US to compete with the U.S. Global Positioning System.

The European Union is seeking comments on the possible uses of its planned Galileo satellite navigation system, which is being developed at a cost of about $4.8 billion US to compete with the U.S. Global Positioning System.

The European system is due to be operational by 2011 and is expected to be used in a variety of applications ranging from traffic navigation to weather tracking and security of financial transactions.

In opening a four-month public consultation period, the EU hopes private and state players will explore the full range of possible uses and debate the role of authorities in regulating Galileo, including meeting concerns over privacy.

"Galileo ... presents a unique opportunity for new applications, economic growth and job creation in the European Union," said EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, who launched the consultation.

The Galileo project will comprise some 30 satellites and aims to end Europe's reliance on the U.S. GPS. The EU says its system will more accurately detect the positioning of users.

GPS is ultimately controlled by the U.S. military, while Galileo will be civilian-run.

Next year, the EU is expected to put a second experimental satellite into orbit in preparation for the launch of Galileo. The EU estimates the global satellite navigation market will be worth more than $530 billion by 2025.