Is embedded navigation losing its relevance in modern vehicles?
This is the question I get asked regularly when I tell someone where I work and what I do.
It certainly is a valid question from someone not familiar with the latest trends and developments in the automotive industry, especially considering freely available smartphone navigation applications.
Here we want to point out why we believe embedded navigation has never been more relevant and that there is a strong upward trend in embedding navigation in modern vehicles.
Navigation used to be available in the highest trims of most premium brands only just 20 years ago. Today, it is available as an option in most vehicles; buying a new family sedan without navigation seems very unlikely in 2021.
A smartphone equipped with a free online navigation application was certainly one of the driving forces in the general adoption of navigation as an everyday tool. However, using a smartphone navigation application is not always convenient; a phone needs to be mounted in a visible place, and it needs to be connected to a charger.
Embedded navigation offsets these problems and makes the navigation experience more pleasant. Integration with other vehicle systems makes it possible to show the map or just upcoming maneuver information on a digital cluster display or a head-up display. The level of integration with the vehicle's audio system cannot be matched by an app running on the smartphone. Technologies like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto came close but are still lagging in integration.
While it is likely that dominant companies like Apple and Google will try to close this integration gap, it will never be possible for them to close the gap completely. With the growing awareness of privacy issues, embedded navigation will become more attractive to customers that value their privacy. Car manufacturers are typically less focused on collecting user data (as opposed to smartphone apps), and it is more difficult to associate the data collected from a car with a specific person.
Embedded navigation is becoming a commodity. The driving forces behind this process are still in place, so it is likely to continue until embedded navigation is present in every new vehicle. The same transition from premium to commodity has happened with other non-essential and non-safety-related features like air conditioning or music playback.
Intelligent speed assistance regulative
Another driving forces that will make embedded navigation part of every vehicle in the future are new safety and environmental regulations. The most prominent example is Intelligent speed assistance (ISA), which will have to be fitted to all new vehicle types from May 2022 and all new vehicles from 2024 to meet the regulatory criteria.
It is estimated that 10 to 15% of all crashes and 30% of all fatal crashes are the direct results of speeding or inappropriate speed. The regulators are looking for ways to reduce this through mandatory ISA, which prompts and encourages drivers to slow down when they are over the speed limit. Speed limits are implicitly enforced in most places (for example, when entering a populated area or a highway), and in order to implement ISA, a front-facing camera does not suffice. Therefore, some form of embedded navigation is needed.
This means that all new vehicles sold in 2024 will be equipped with some embedded navigation. There will undoubtedly be more regulations that will rely on data coming from navigation, for example, forcing vehicles capable of driving on electric power only to switch to electric mode in low emission zones.
Electric and hybrid vehicles
The main concern for drivers of electric vehicles (EV) is range anxiety, and embedded navigation is the best way to alleviate that problem. Using various attributes of map data and machine learning to understand driver behavior, embedded navigation is able to make a highly precise estimation of battery consumption. Battery consumption estimation is then used to show users the reachable area, typically by drawing a polygon on the map and providing precise energy consumption for any calculated route. Another ingredient in this formula is data on chargers available to navigation that is paired with vehicle charging capabilities to provide users straightforward information on where they can charge and how long charging will take.
Combining range estimation and charger information with EV-aware routing algorithm navigation is able to calculate travel plans that entirely eliminate range anxiety, taking into account features of the vehicle, driver behavior, and available infrastructure.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles also benefit from embedded navigation as navigation is able to supply the battery management system detailed information about route on longer journeys which includes expected driving speed and elevation profile. A battery management system is then able to manage energy available in the battery to minimize fuel consumption on long trips.
Embedded navigation is not losing its relevance
Arguments laid out in this post should be more than enough to substantiate the opening statement and convince anyone that embedded navigation is not losing its relevance. In fact, we see a very bright future for embedded navigation and the various ways it will enhance driver experience, safety, and environmental aspects of transportation.
Founded in 2001, Mireo has been developing top-of-the-line GPS navigation solutions for over 20 years. For the last 10 years, we've been providing GPS navigation solutions to major OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. 20 Million navigation licenses testify to our expertise.
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