VW preps Google Earth-based in-car sat nav rig
But will it fly?
Volkswagen is partnering with Google to devise an in-car navigation device that plots your path using Google Earth images and points-of-interest (POI) data rather than the more basic vector graphics displayed by today's sat nav units.
VW's pitch for the product - as reported by EETimes - is that it will make for a more natural representation of the drive's route than current navigation tools provide.
While you're driving the last thing you should be doing is peering at a tiny screen trying to figure out where you're heading, but it may well make position-fixing easier when you've pulled over.
Of course, Google will need to enhance the quality of many of its maps, particularly if VW wants to offer the product outside the US. Even in the West, rural-area maps can be a tad low-resolution on Google Earth, we've found.
Beyond the imagery, the unit sounds like a typical GPS-based navigation system, offering route planning, POI signalling and re-routing around hazards. At this stage it's unclear whether users would download the maps onto the unit en masse on a journey-by-journey basis, or directly via a mobile phone network 3G data connection.
"With this kind of system, you could see the hotel where you're staying, instead of just getting directions from A to B," said Arne Stoschek, head of displays and sensor materials at Vokswagen's Palo Alto, California-based Electronic Research Lab. Well, the hotel's roof, at the very least... ®
Could VW's partnership with Google go beyond sat nav? Might it explain the still unexplained Google Earth flying car?