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China's Geely launches 11 satellites to aid driverless cars

The Zeekr 001 is among Geely's models that can use the satellites for navigation and communication. Image: Geely

ZeekChinese automaker Geely Holding announced the company launched 11 low-earth orbit satellites last week to support navigation for driverless cars.

The launch, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on February 3, was Geely's second. It was undertaken through Geespace, the satellite technology company in which Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has invested.

The 11 satellites are part of the second orbital plane in the company's ambitious "Geely Future Mobility Constellation" network, a commercial initiative to integrate communication, navigation, and remote sensing within a single satellite network. The first orbital plane, comprising nine satellites, was deployed in June 2022. Geely aims to have 72 satellites in orbit by 2025 before eventually reaching the full constellation strength of 240 satellites.

The company's car models including the new Zeekr 001 FR, Zeekr 007 and Geely Galaxy E8 come with in-built satellite communication functionality, which extends beyond high-precision positioning to commercial functions such as connectivity with consumer electronics products.

The satellites also have AI remote sensing functions, which provides the company with clear high-resolution remote sensing imaging data.

In its release, Geely said the constellation would create "a new technological ecology", with "full coverage combining multi-dimensional carriers such as automobiles and consumer electronics products, to enable smart travel, unmanned systems, smart cities and more." 

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