Sunday, March 18, 2012

Waze Tackles GPS Tunnel Blindness

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We’ve probably all had it happen. You’re driving along and your route takes you inside a tunnel where, suddenly, your GPS device is completely useless and you find yourself squinting along at signs trying to figure out which lane you need to be in. Because GPS signals are transmitted from satellites, dense cover and underground locations (like tunnels) have always been a challenge. While manufacturers have managed to improve GPS technology so many devices can keep signals in dense undergrowth and in canyons, having a signal underground is a different challenge altogether. But, it looks like Google’s secondary navigation company Waze has a solution.

The Waze Beacons Program uses modified Bluetooth beacons in order to communicate location with your device. From what it looks like, the beacons currently will only work with the Waze app, but the signals are unencrypted so other manufacturers like Google or even Garmin, could take advantage of them as well. read more

Dedicated GPS Devices Are Better Than Smartphones

Volvo Car Group initiates a world unique Swedish pilot project with self-driving cars on public roads

It’s true that smartphones are rapidly overtaking GPS technology, and since everyone has a cell phone, for some people it might seem like a waste of money to buy a device that does something your smartphone can already do. Heck, that mentality is exactly what keeps me from getting a tablet—I already have a phone and a laptop; how could I possibly justify the expense?

However, what many people don’t realize is that while smartphones do have a lot of overlap with dedicated GPS devices, there are things that really make it far more worthwhile than people realize. And yes, you could get around most of these if you really wanted to, but using a GPS device negates the need for all of those workarounds. read more

It is Illegal to Use Phone GPS While Driving in RI

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The Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal made a landmark decision recently that may have cemented the beginning of troubles for phone GPS apps. Recently, the ruling from the Tribunal’s Appeals Panel upheld a state fine for a man in Rhode Island who was given a ticket for looking at his phone while driving. The man claimed that he was checking his GPS, not texting.

“…Based on the plain language of the statute,” the judges wrote in their decision, “a reader may be looking at any visual display on the phone’s interface and be in violation of the statute. To hold otherwise would defeat the purpose of the statute: to prevent drivers from distractions caused by operation of a cell phone while driving.” read more

TomTom Introduces On-Street Parking Service

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We all know the struggle of trying to find parking. It’s especially frustrating to me when I am in an unfamiliar city, usually downtown, and one way streets are getting me turned around!

Fortunately, TomTom is working on a solution for its customers. The company recently announced an On-Street Parking Service. It seems TomTom is staying on track to further develop technology needed for self-driving, or autonomous vehicles. Of course, there are other benefits as well. read more

Built in GPS Disappoints Customers

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Technology in the world today is advancing so fast that it is sometimes hard to keep up. With that being said, more and more cars are coming equipped with a built-in navigation systems so that consumers won’t need to use a stand alone model or their smartphone.

Unfortunately, while the technology is becoming available for the public, not many people are utilizing it. In a survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, it was revealed that about 1/3 of people who had built-in navigation gave up on it after less than 2 weeks, and more than half never used it at all. Additionally, almost 2/3 of people with the built-in navigation said that they continue to use their smartphone as a GPS at least some of the time. read more

TomTom Announces New GO Devices with Auto Updates

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TomTom has announced its next generation TomTom GO devices this month, and the company claims they are the “most advanced” devices to date. While these devices will have many of the same features as other TomToms, the new TomTom GO devices will feature WiFi connectivity, hands-free driving, and route prediction.

The new TomTom GO devices will come in four models, the 520 and 620, which are 5 and 6 inches respectively, are the cheaper versions while the 5200 and 6200 are a little more pricey and include the additional feature of a SIM for live updates on the go. read more

Garmin Adds Driver Alerts to New Dash Cams

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This week, Garmin has released information on its next generation of dash cams, which will provide not only an impartial eyewitness but also some new safety features. Garmin’s dash cams aren’t a huge segment of the GPS company’s business, but it has been working in the market some this year with the release of several new updates earlier this year. While these new units, the Dash Cam 30 and 35 will not include GPS routing, they will come with new features including driver alerts.

The new driver alerts will only be available on the Dash Cam 35 and include: read more

Are GPS Voice Commands worth the time?

Auto GPS buyers guide

There are some features that are absolutely essential for GPS units, like lifetime map updates and lane junction views. But what about voice commands? Back when they were first introduced I can’t say that I was a huge fan as they were incredibly touchy. The mic couldn’t pick up voices with the AC going or music playing and don’t even think about having the window open. And even then, I felt like I was constantly shouting at my GPS.

Of course, technology has really advanced quite a bit since the early 2000s, and even my phone has a pretty decent voice recognition program now. So, what about GPS? Is voice command worth the time? We’ll take a look at the pros and cons, and then you can tell us your thoughts! read more

Garmin Introduces GPS Dash Cam for Truckers

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In April, Garmin introduced its first ever dash cam/GPS unit combination aimed to help drivers not only find their way, but protect their vehicles via video recording of incidents. Well, it looks like the GPS giant has reset its sights on a group that spends even more time on the road than most: truckers. The dezlCam LMTHD is a trucker-specific GPS device that not only includes a built-in dash cam and lifetime maps and traffic, but also a slew of features designed to display information that truckers need most. read more

Auto GPS Features You Can’t Live Without

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Based on the feedback and comments I’ve seen on this site, automotive GPS is still the most common type of GPS that you guys use. I can’t say I blame you; smartphones are a hassle in the car, and while paper maps are awesome, trying to fold those suckers while behind a wheel is a feat worthy of song.

However, it seems like there are even more GPS features and options to pick from than ever before. I know in the past we’ve done articles on GPS features you shouldn’t bother with and ones you should, but those are all a little old now, and features are constantly being added. read more