China’s Geely launches 11 satellites for autonomous cars

China automaker Geely

China's Geely launches 11 satellites for autonomous cars

SHANGHAI: Geely Holding Group, the Chinese automaker, announced on Saturday the successful launch of 11 low-earth orbit satellites, marking its second deployment.

The satellites were launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province, expanding Geely’s capability to enhance precise navigation for autonomous vehicles.

Geely disclosed plans to have 72 satellites in orbit by 2025, with a long-term goal of establishing a constellation of 240 satellites. The initial satellite launch took place in June 2022.

Beyond supporting high-precision positioning for self-driving vehicles, Geely’s satellite network aims to serve various commercial purposes, including connectivity within the consumer electronics sector. The satellites are equipped with AI remote sensing functions, delivering clear high-resolution remote sensing imaging at 1-5 meters (3.2-16.4 ft), according to the company.

While China’s satellite networks have traditionally been dominated by the military, private investment in the country’s space industry has been allowed since 2014. This shift has led to a surge in commercial companies entering the sector, with a focus on satellite manufacturing and the development of small launch vehicles, including reusable rockets.

In line with its five-year plan for 2021-2025, Beijing aims to establish an integrated satellite network for communications, remote sensing, and navigation. China currently has over 400 satellites deployed in space, including those owned by commercial entities, as reported by state media.