MyFord Touch Feature Spotlight: Navigation

Ford’s announcement that navigation features will come standard as part of the MyFord and Sync packages marks the first real foray by an OEM into the world of low cost navigation solutions.

We’ve already discussed the Traffic, Directions and Information feature so today we’re focusing on the MyFord system which includes the more traditional method of delivering navigation (than Sync, at least), maps.  The system represents Telenav’s first dedicated in-vehicle navigation application and a milestone in their move towards providing services for more than just handheld devices (with more news slated for later in 2010).

The system is a sort of hybrid using Sync’s SD card slot for on-board maps and POI while leveraging the Sync system’s connectivity (powered by Airbiquity’s Data-over-Voice service) to allow access to off-board information that can be downloaded and stored.  The system utilizes mapping from Navteq and TeleAtlas and traffic information from Inrix with Telenav’s in-vehicle routing platform to deliver turn-by-turn directions to the embedded screen (including some 3D maps).

Today’s wireless connectivity is very good…depending where are you.  The combination of on-board and off-board features data is really the ideal solution for the modern technology landscape.  The data stored locally allows for the system to quickly and easily access a significant amount of frequently used data while the connectivity ensures that the system has access to the latest information and updates.  By storing data on the SD card the user is also able to regularly update the on-board maps via a computer thus reducing cost and headache generally associated with SSD, HDD and DVD systems.

I haven’t had the opportunity to use this system yet, but I do believe that this on-board / off-board combination is the correct model for delivering navigation related features to most mobile devices (not just the vehicle…If you’ve ever tried using Google Maps when your phone doesn’t get service you know what I’m talking about).  It is a win-win model in that you’re already ahead of traditional systems (the SD card is easily replaceable and the system is update-able) and you have the benefits of a connected system while mitigating the drawbacks of a fully off-board application (all for free and without need for subscriptions beyond your standard phone plan).

Implementations like this will continue to expand as low cost alternatives to embedded connectivity become more readily available in vehicles.

More pictures after the break.

Telenav Press Release

Ford Press Release

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