Friday, January 19, 2007

Interactive car navigation with advertising

Dash is a US company offering a GPS car navigation computer with a wireless link for interactive access. The idea is that it can be updated in real time with information about traffic delays collected from other users of the unit:
The Dash navigator uses either Wi-Fi or cell network connectivity to provide users with real-time information that, if it works as advertises, could cut down on driving blindly into traffic jams.

The secret sauce seems to be the utilization of real-time route information sent automatically back to Dash's central servers by each Dash user's equipment. Then the central system sends specific route and traffic information back to individual users so that they can benefit from the experience of fellow Dash users ahead of them.
Their hardware looks much the same as other GPS units. However, it is not clear how much intelligence there is in the unit. In theory it could just be a dumb terminal relaying the GPS coordinates to the remote service of the Internet and sending back maps and instructions. But I suspect the Internet service just augments the usual built in mapping in the unit. There are considerable claims made:
Dash Express is the smartest, most Internet-connected navigation system on the road. In fact, it's the first and only automotive navigation system with two-way connectivity. Which means it gets you where you want to go—in the fastest time possible—and delivers the most relevant information—right to your dashboard. Plus, Dash Express is the only device on the market that automatically and wirelessly updates its maps and software, so all you have to do is drive.
Also it allows for very specific information about products and services available in the local area:
With Yahoo! Local and Dash Express, local search in the car is becoming a simple and easy-to-use reality. When a user enters their search term into their Dash Express, the device wirelessly begins a Yahoo! Local search on the web. Within seconds, the results are formatted into address cards and presented to the user as a simple listing of nearby businesses. With the press of a button on the device, the Dash user is routed to their desired destination.
Anu alternative would be a smartphone with GPS.

No comments: