After Brexit, the UK will have no rights to use the EU’s Galileo satellite system. What is Galileo, should we expect sat nav problems when travelling through the UK, and should our clients be concerned?

We’ve taken a closer look at Galileo, and what its loss will mean to trucks on UK roads, in the article below.

What is Galileo?

With 26 satellites already operational in the sky above us, Galileo is Europe’s largest satellite system, providing global positioning and timing services to 600 million users. Data from the Galileo constellation feeds millions of sat navs across Europe. It’s IoT-compatible and is capable of locating a phone making an emergency call, almost anywhere in the world, with pinpoint accuracy. The first Galileo satellite was built in Surrey in 2005, and to date the UK has invested £1.2 billion in the project, however it’s a project that is owned and operated by the EU, so the UK will lose access after Brexit.

Will Brexit stop our sat navs from working in the UK?

Thankfully, even in the event of a chaotic no-deal on the 12th April or 22nd May, our trucks will still be able to use their in-truck sat navs on UK journeys. Galileo isn’t the only satellite array covering Europe; GPS is a separate sat nav system owned and operated by the US Government, which works well in the UK. At present, most of our in-truck sat navs draw positioning data from both GPS and Galileo; if we’re passing through a blind spot on one network, we work from data provided by the other network. If Galileo were to stop working altogether, our trucks could manage with GPS.

Will the UK lose access to Galileo completely?

Until the UK formally leaves the EU, it’s impossible to predict what kind of access UK-based consumers and businesses will have to the Galileo service. It’s possible that the UK will be able to access the network as a ‘Third Country’ and that this level of access will be sufficient for businesses and consumers, but only time will tell.  What is certain is that the UK will lose access to PRS (Galileo’s most accurate signal, encrypted and reserved for EU member state’s military use), and that the UK will lose out on all Galileo project contracts. A major monitoring station has already been moved from England to Spain, and two sensor stations, currently located on the Falkland and Ascension Islands, are being shut down.

What does this mean for trucks crossing the UK?

Based on our research, the loss of Galileo isn’t an immediate concern for Irish & EU trucks crossing the UK land bridge. Sat navs on UK roads will continue to work with or without access to the EU’s satellite network. There is still a very high risk of major delays, however, due to uncertainty around UK port protocols, new customs requirements and motorway traffic congestion if the UK leaves without a Brexit deal.

Baku GLS are preparing for Brexit

At Baku, we’re managing the risks posed by Brexit with alternative route planning, heavy investment in our customs knowledge, upgraded IT systems and industry-leading accreditations. We’re keeping a close eye on Brexit developments and what it all means for the Irish transport industry on our Brexit Hub.