No more traffic jams or parking problems

7th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

The new navigation systems promise to help with those driving snarls.

Hamburg -- A new generation of navigation systems is promising much more than guiding the motorist from A to B, including features on avoiding traffic jams and the search for parking spaces in crowded inner cities.

Current navigation systems have a map on the display with a voice guiding the driver to his/her destination. Now several manufacturers are working on prototypes with three-dimensional (3D) displays offering an almost realistic depiction of everything ahead - buildings, trees and surrounding landscapes.

The new systems are designed for use not only in the car but while on horseback, on a bicycle or walking. Thanks to the internet, a bird's eye view can be chosen, giving the user information similar to that found on Google Earth with info on everything from restaurants, filling stations or nearby hotels.

The maps are updated automatically and in case of an emergency rescue services can pinpoint your exact position down to the nearest metre. The 3D technology is expensive. Specialists compile the images by driving along the roads and comparing the buildings to a catalogue of different computer images and colours. The images of the streets are thus not realistic but closely resemble them.

At present, navigators help you find your way but won't tell you whether a traffic jam is coming up ahead. But a solution is underway.

The navigation solution provider Tomtom will launch its "high definition" (HD) traffic information system in cooperation with Vodafone later this year in Germany. It combines conventional radio traffic reports with its software on movement patterns of mobile telephones. The motorist is informed beforehand where traffic congestion looms and offered an alternative route. The system, described as the world's most advanced traffic information service, has been in operation in the Netherlands since last November.

The service also promises a far more precise calculation on travel and arrival times.

Several navigators with mobile internet connections, apart from guiding the driver to the destination, provide a data bank of all house numbers in Europe and include a function on where to find a parking space.

Germany's consumer testing authority Stiftung Warentest recently found that most navigators do their job fairly well in guiding the motorist to the chosen destination. But even the most modern systems available have their weaknesses, Warentest pointed out warning that pedestrians only have limited use as many paths and walkways are missing.

But the navigation suppliers are promising to have completed updated maps of all pedestrian walks and paths in Europe soon, making it almost impossible to get lost while hiking in the countryside or walking in a foreign city.

DPA with Expatica

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