Nokia banks on the future of constantly updated, Internet-connected maps with its cloud-based Here Auto in-dash navigation system.
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Nokia has long developed mapping data for cars, thanks in part to its purchase of Navteq. It provides such data to a handful of automobile manufacturers and claims that its data is already in four of five cars on the road. Friday it took things a step further with the debut of Here Auto, an embedded in-dash navigation system that is connected to the cloud.
According to Nokia, Here Auto isn't about better maps. Instead, it's about bringing the best of its real-time data to route planning and navigation.
"We believe that a connected car isn't just about putting a smartphone in vehicles," wrote Nokia's Pino Bonetti. "We believe that connectivity creates vast new possibilities for the automobile industry. Here Auto and Here Auto Companion app aim to take advantage of those possibilities and bring our vision of a connected car to life."
Nokia says that Here Auto will adjust dynamically depending on what type of driving is taking place. For example, it will show a helicopter view of the road when the car is being driven on the highway. That viewpoint will change to a zoomed-in view when the driver approaches a city. It will eventually show street-level images when the driver nears her destination. These changes take place automatically in order to "provide the right map at the right moment."
The always-connected app is continually updating with real-time information to provide the most relevant data to the driver. For example, roads that are closed or under renovation will be marked on the map, and the system can provide in-transit route changes when it determines that there are problems ahead. As with other Here products, maps can be stored locally for use when the car is in weak coverage areas.
Beyond the in-dash system, Nokia is making it easier for smartphone owners to interact with their car and even access car-based data. The Nokia Here Auto Companion App bridges the gap between phone and car to bring the two together. The companion app can be used to sync maps between smartphone and car, as well as push updates. The app also does creative things, such as allow users to find where they parked their car, using Nokia's LiveSight augmented reality technology. It also syncs sensor data, such as fuel level and tire pressure. The app can also be used to lock or unlock the car or control air conditioning.
Nokia's Here team is working with auto makers to provide the Here Auto software and its APIs. The system will be more fully revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) on Sept. 10. More details about which car models should become available then. Nokia didn't say when the smartphone app will become available.
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