What is an Automotive Navigation System?
An automotive navigation system is a navigation system for drivers to find the direction in a car. It can be a built-in system in the car, or a portable device put in the car. Nowadays built-in automotive navigation systems gradually combine other functions such as audio or video playing functions into the systems, and they are compatible with smartphones as well. This article will focus on the features, the market, and the future of automotive navigation systems.
The Features of Automotive Navigation Systems
In recent years, more advanced features are added to an automotive navigation system. Currently, an automotive navigation system has location search, real-time traffic monitoring, voice assistance, and offline maps (usually 3D and HD) which can be updated through OTA services. Of course, there are still other additional features, but the above four are the most essential ones.
Feature 1: Location Search
Location search is the main purpose of an automotive navigation system. It usually includes searching by the address, the address book, the previous destinations, POI (Points of Interest), or by a voice assistant. Entering the exact address to the navigation panel is the most explicit way to search the location you are heading to; however, it is also the most time-consuming way. If you want to change the destination accidentally, then you need to stop driving and pull over for a while. Therefore, other searching methods are also applicable in some scenarios for user convenience.
Feature 2: Real-Time Traffic Monitoring
Monitoring the real-time traffic is a very helpful function that lets drivers get to know which direction may be the fastest one to reach the destination. In general, the technology of TMC (Traffic Message Channel) is used to realize this function. By collecting the traffic information through RDS (Radio Data System), TMC delivers the information to vehicle drivers via FM radio broadcasts. Real-time traffic monitoring allows navigation to become more dynamic and effective.
Recently smartphones are equipped with real-time traffic monitoring functions by getting information through the online huge databases with internet connections.
Feature 3: In-Car Voice Assistance
Equipped with a voice assistant is almost standard for every new vehicle now, and most automakers do integrate this function into the automotive navigation systems. As we mentioned above, an in-car voice assistant makes location searching easier, for instance, when a driver wants to change the destination accidentally, pulling over will not be needed.
However, if the voice assistant is not accurate enough, misrecognition problems may happen, and it may take the driver more effort to reach the destination in that circumstance. Therefore, some automakers or navigation providers are cooperating with existing voice assistants from the home automation area such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and so on to ensure the quality of these voice assistants. In 2018, Garmin has integrated Alexa into its navigation systems; in 2019, Toyota Avalon has announced to installation of Apple CarPlay; Tesla also supports Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. The digital consulting firm Infopulse has predicted Google Assistant will surge to become the first in-car voice assistant globally.
Feature 4: OTA updated Maps
A map is necessary for directional guidance, and its accuracy and timeliness are required for automotive navigation. In general, offline maps with OTA (Over the Air) updates are common in the past years; they let drivers get the latest maps by updating them regularly. Along with the advancement of technology, 3D maps are beneficial for drivers to obtain more accurate information from real-world simulation. On the other hand, online 3D maps without the OTA function needed can be found in automotive navigation systems as well; they are just not as usual as offline maps.
The Market of Automotive Navigation Systems
Global automobile sales are still rising. S&P Global Ratings has forecasted the global vehicle sales to 83～85 million units in 2021, with 8～10% growth from 2020 to 2021, and it will remain rising in the following years. In the meantime, the global market of automotive navigation systems is continuously growing steadily as well. According to Market Study Report, it is projected to grow from USD 16.16 billion in 2019 to USD 20.94 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 6.7%.
Market Condition 1: The Market is Growing Due to the Expansion of Online Businesses
One of the main driving forces of automotive navigation systems is that the businesses of logistics companies are expanding rapidly. COVID-19 pandemic has made online shopping and Internet trading burst more fiercely than ever, and many e-Commerce companies need logistics companies to help to deliver a large number of goods on time. Hence, more automobiles with automotive navigation systems are required.
Market Condition 2: Europe Occupies the Largest Portion; the Asia Pacific is Catching Up
Currently, European brands take over the majority of automotive navigation system market since they are holding the largest portion of the global automotive industry in terms of their productivity and revenue. Other than that, the safety concern in Europe is important, the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) have regulated that being equipped with an automotive navigation system is essential for a new car to keep it safer.
In the future, Asia Pacific is predicted to replace Europe and become the largest area to hold the business of automotive navigation systems since the automakers in Japan and China are rising fast.
The Future for Automotive Navigation Systems
Future 1: Close to Reality
The automotive navigation systems will be more powerful and close to reality than ever. Some luxury brands have already equipped with these kinds of navigation systems. The automotive navigation system of Cadillac Escalade in 2021 not only provides a correct map but also show traffic signs at intersections to indicate the right way. It can even show pictures of your destination and the surrounding environment for you to not get lost. Furthermore, the function of augmented reality is also provided.
In the future, these functions will not merely be provided by luxury car brands. Mid-level brands will start to enhance the capabilities of automotive navigation systems for their cars. It is expected that more powerful and user-friendly automotive navigation systems will be seen in more cars, from luxury to mid-level.
Future 2: More Integration
Integration with other functions like entertainment functions is an ongoing process of automotive navigation system development. Predictably, more engaging integration with more in-car functions will be the future of automotive navigation systems. For example, a combination of an ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) map and a navigation map will definitely enhance the accuracy of navigation map since ADAS needs a perfectly fine map (usually in HD and 3D forms) to measure the surrounding environment, provide the correct information, and realize car automation.
Future 3: Accurate on Route Analysis and Planning
Many drivers are already familiar with route planning on their smartphones. With the features of location search by multiple ways and real-time traffic monitoring, an automotive navigation system should be capable of analyzing and planning the best route for the driver based on his/her driving style, regularly visited places, traffic, and weather conditions. Shortly, it is foreseen that automotive navigation systems will be smarter, and a more customized and personalized experience will be provided to the drivers.
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