NAVTEQ launches Natural Guidance, while Daimler chooses Harman and Hughes Telematics

NAVTEQ launches Natural Guidance, while Daimler chooses Harman and Hughes Telematics

At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, NAVTEQ launched a new product that makes navigation instructions more intuitive and helpful. NAVTEQ Natural Guidance provides directions the way humans give directions to each other—through the use of descriptive reference cues. Points of interest and landmarks are central to the product’s approach. A command could be ‘Turn right after the yellow shop’ or ‘Continue left past City Hall.’

Research shows that consumers want more intuitive and practical directions because they’re easier to follow and allow users to keep their eyes on the road. “Natural Guidance provides the kind of directions we crave as humans,” says Tiffany Treacy, NAVTEQ senior vice president of product management. “It challenges the man-machine status quo of how navigation systems have worked for years by finally enabling the kind of guidance that sounds like it’s coming from a friend who is riding along with you.” NAVTEQ Natural Guidance is currently available in major cities in Germany, the UK, the US, France, and India. NAVTEQ plans to add cities aggressively throughout Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific in the coming year.

TomTom’s Via Live & Navigate-to-photo

The IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin also witnessed the release of a new personal navigation device from TomTom, the Via LIVE. The PND is a mid-tier device designed for real drivers. It comes with enhanced driving features, including full voice control and hands-free call answering as standard, to keep drivers fully informed about the open road ahead. TomTom also unveiled an update for its iPhone app that allows users to navigate to photos in their photo galleries. The feature is called Navigate-to-photo and attempts to turn users’ photo galleries into address books. Locations are determined by way of geo-tags.

Qubulus’s Salamander indoor position app

Qubulus released Salamander, an indoor position app for the Android market. Current LBS solutions often fail to provide accurate and reliable positioning indoors. Salamander solves that by allowing users to identify areas in which they want to position themselves. They can create an unlimited amount and as many types of indoor areas as they want; typically, those areas vary from event and living spaces to stores and offices. Salamander is a simplified example of what can be done with Qubulus technology, which uses crowd-sourced activities to offer free indoor positioning with better accuracy for developers.

The LBS advertising rush

The location-aware advertising market will reach $1.8 billion in the US by 2015, according to a new report from ABI Research. Check-in services like Foursquare, Loopt, and Gowalla already have established audiences, and leading brands like McDonald’s, Pepsi, and H&M are starting to deploy location-based campaigns. While initiatives like these are “fragmented” and “experimental” today, ABI forecasts that the total mobile advertising market will be $5 billion in 2015, meaning more than a third will include a geo-location component. For more on location-based ads, see ‘Can telematics make ads profitable in cars? ’.

Apple iPod Out

QNX unveiled the first production-ready implementation of Apple iPod Out, a new feature from Apple that allows users to control their iPhones or iPod Touches from their cars’ head units. QNX’s software connects the iPhone or iPod touch to the car and controls the display in the embedded dashboard screen. The interface is identical in-car and on-device, meaning there’s no learning curve for Apple users, which QNX hopes will minimize driver distraction. Users can play music, make phone calls, and use new apps from their Apple devices as soon as they introduce them. QNX’s lead automotive customer plans to implement the feature in 2011.


Telmap launched its Telmap5 Mobile Location Companion in Europe, to be commercialized under the name “SFR GPS” by SFR in France. SFR GPS offers users the ability to search for proximity services in their immediate surroundings. It also includes a widget carousel, which enables quick access to nearby information (the closest Velib bike station in Paris, an ATM, or a hospital). SFR GPS is available on the BlackBerry Curve 9300 and 8900 and on the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and 9000; it will be available shortly on additional smartphones.

Travelers incentivizes insurance telematics

Travelers announced a discount of up to 15 percent on auto liability insurance premiums for businesses that use telematics technology to monitor their commercial fleets and driver behavior. To qualify for a discount, businesses must show that they have installed vehicle telematics devices in a sufficient number of their fleet vehicles and that they are actively incorporating safety information from the devices into their ongoing safety feedback to drivers, at least on a quarterly basis. Travelers believes telematics solutions help their clients minimize risk and costs and help them assign the proper premium. For more on insurance and telematics, see ‘Can telematics reinvent auto insurance?’.

Mercedes-Benz stays connected

Daimler AG selected Harman to equip selected new Mercedes-Benz models with top-class in-car entertainment modules. The modules will incorporate wireless headphone technology from Harman’s AKG(R) brand and will complement Harman’s next-generation COMAND infotainment system in the Mercedes-Benz models. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz and Hughes Telematics announced an upgraded version of the mbrace iPhone app that can lock and unlock a car from the user’s smartphone, no matter where that user is in the world. Users can also locate their cars or call for assistance from their smartphones.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *