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Companies set sights on Japan's homegrown GPS

Second satellite now in orbit, with all four to be in place by 2018

A rendering of a Michibiki satellite, part of Japan's enhanced GPS system.   © (Image courtesy of JAXA)

TOKYO -- Japan's augmented Global Positioning System is expected to create a host of new business opportunities, from highly sophisticated car navigation and drone delivery to autonomous driving of construction equipment. 

The second of a planned four satellites that will form the network was successfully launched Thursday from the Tanegashima Space Center. Information from the first Michibiki quasi-zenith satellite launched in September 2010 is already in use, and Japan plans to launch two more by March 2018.

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