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Automotive navigation system

An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation system designed for use in automobiles. It typically uses GPS to acquire position data to locate the user on a road in the unit's map database. Using the road database, the unit can give directions to other locations along roads also in its database. Dead reckoning using distance data from sensors attached to the drivetrain and a gyroscope can be used for greater reliability, as GPS signal loss and/or multipath can occur due to urban canyons or tunnels.

Together with the graphics card manufacturer nVidia, a revolutionary new navigation system is being developed in Volkswagen's Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Palo Alto, California. This new system uses data from Google Earth to generate 3-dimensional images of the route. Moreover, the navigation system can gather online data to provide the driver with important real-time information, for example about the traffic situation or weather.

Volkswagen, Google and nVidia have been working on developing this new navigation system since October 2005. In January 2006 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the partnership was able to present its first prototype, which comes closer to "virtual reality travel information" than any other system seen to date.

The central element is a touch-screen interface linked to Google Earth. Precise 3-dimensional maps, real-time traffic and route guidance updates and a search function set new standards in navigation technology. This so-called "open system" integrates the internet to meet the individual requirements of the driver and his passengers.

The prototype enjoys three important advantages over today's systems. Firstly: the 3-dimensional, photorealistic display of the surrounding area makes intuitive orientation easier for the driver and his passengers.

Secondly: important real-time data are fed into the system through a link to the internet. This means that, for example, traffic data and weather reports, but also any other information relevant to planning the journey such as filling stations, their opening times and current fuel prices are available, enhancing comfort, safety and reliability for the journey.

Thirdly: a further online link coupled to the search function allows the driver and his passengers to receive specific information about special features en route and at the destination – hotels, restaurants, cinemas and theatres are feasible examples. The driver and his passengers can even receive shopping data, right down to current prices, through the innovative navigation system. All such data is shown on the display.

At present, this innovative system is still in the development phase – no decision has yet been made about a possible series production launch.

Based in Palo Alto, California, the ERL is the Volkswagen Group's central research centre in the USA. In the heart of Silicon Valley, it is able to work directly with globally leading high-tech and start-up companies. The close working relationship between the ERL and these partners facilitates the design and development of innovative features and applications, which are then applied to test vehicles of the Volkswagen Group brands for further analysis

Apple Developing Car Navigation System?

German Magazine Focus is reporting (Google translation) that Apple is working on car navigation and sound systems. Apple is said to be working for an introduction in 2009, working with Mercedes exclusively for 6 months.

The system is reported to include "entertainment, communication, and navigation," similar to devices already on the market.

According to FOCUS-sources, the device, that the computer maker is presently developing combines entertainment, communication and navigation in a single device.

Mercedes will exclusively offer the new Apple device for six months, with an expected market introduction targeted for 2009. It is still unclear whether Apple - as in the case of the iPhone - will rely on Google Maps for navigation help.

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