Navigation systems used to be the ultimate automotive feature. As a kid in middle school, I used to drool over cars that were seemingly anointed with the eye of God. A user was able to type in a destination and be led their by their automobile. I, like some of you, keenly remember the times when my dad had to stop and ask people for directions. The idea of a car giving you directions just blew my adolescent mind.
Today’s car navigation systems are even more sophisticated. They talk to you, give you the weather, and even pulls traffic information. They are (relatively) cheaper from automotive manufacturers as well. Despite all of this, I cant see myself owning a future vehicle with one.
You see, our smartphones can not only do everything our navigation systems can do, but they do it whether we are in the car, jogging or at a boring family dinner (I’m sorry mom..honest!). Most importantly our smartphones are constantly updating map data. I can plot my trip and check traffic before I leave the house.
I have a relative with a navigation system in a luxury vehicle that is six years old. The lack of congruence between it and today’s roads are dramatic. It believes that certain traffic patterns from 2006 still exist. At this point, you are better off omitting navigation altogether.
With apps like Google maps, you have a constantly evolving app that is good for the entire world. US-based DVD navigation systems won’t tell you how to get from Tokyo to Kyoto. Sure that’s impractical for a US based vehicle, but the possibilities with smartphones are endless.
Why use in-car navigation at all? Why can’t we just have a screen in our cars that can display our smartphone information. Expensive navigation options would be unnecessary. Through these screens (or the phone itself) we would access a constantly updating platform. It wouldn’t matter which smartphone you owned. The screen would display your preferred UI.
Smartphones are making the navigation system redundant. Many in-car systems are only useful after a few years. My suggestion? Get a smartphone and a mount so you can pocket the extra grand while relying on better data. Especially if you plan on keeping the car for an extended period of time.