Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China’s largest private automaker, said Thursday it launched nine satellites into space as part of plans to create a high-precision navigation system for self-driving vehicles, reports Nikkei Asia.
The GeeSAT-1 satellites, designed and produced by subsidiary Geespace, were sent into low Earth orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, marking Geely’s first successful launch. A Geely base station in the Xinjiang region’s city of Korla confirmed the satellites are functioning properly.
The satellites will provide centimeter-accurate positioning data that the automaker will to guide autonomous vehicles. Other applications include logistics and drone navigation, the company said. Geely plans to have 72 satellites in orbit by 2025 and begin services that year in China and the Asia-Pacific region. Global coverage is slated to begin after 2026 with a constellation of 240 satellites.