A new European Union-backed radio satellite system could help find sunken ships, EU officials said, promoting the potential benefits of the "Galileo" satellite navigation system
The EU hopes to have the system up and running by 2005 at a potential cost to taxpayers of around $2.9 billion, although the EU hopes private firms will contribute 50 percent.
The EU this month secured the radio frequencies needed to launch the system at an international conference in Turkey. More detailed plans will be drawn up before the end of the year.
Galileo, a European rival to military global positioning systems operated by the United States and Russia, will be able to locate objects or people to within 16.4 ft. (5 m). In addition to locating ships, it can also be used for aircraft navigation and finding stolen cars, officials said.