Navigation systems and smartphones: innovative and convenient

Collaboration between navigation systems and smartphones to be promoted for enhanced user experience



 An automotive navigation system (car navigation system) debuted as a satellite navigation system that locates the user on a road using a GPS device and a digital map. The introduction of telematics technologies that followed based on mobile phones did much to revolutionize the navigation system in terms of functions. Today's car navigation system is somewhat like a mobile device capable of "cloud-computing" and social networking services as well.

 Smartphones (iPhones, Android-based models, etc.) are mobile communication devices first introduced in the latter half of the 2000s and are spreading very rapidly. Some of the newest models are designed to communicate with car navigation systems.

 The auto industry regards smartphone services exceptionally irresistible and is opting for (1) data sharing, (2) functional integration, or even (3) dependence on smartphones.

 Forms of potential collaboration between car navigation systems and smartphone services are uncertain at present although efforts toward "enhanced user convenience" will follow rapidly with smartphone services made available on car navigation systems or on audio equipment having a display.

 The following illustrates the trends of navigation systems and smartphones primarily in Japan.

Related Reports: JSAE Automotive Engineering Exposition 2012 (Jul. 2012)

Smartphones and IT industries seeking enhanced car navigation functions


 Smartphone services
2007  * iPhone services introduced
 * Nokia Maps on Symbian-based devices introduced
2008  * Services for Android-based devices introduced
2009  * Google Maps Navigation services introduced
 * Map data delivery services for iPhone introduced
2010  * Map data delivery services for Android devices introduced
 * Google Maps Navigation made available on Android devices
2012  * Apple announces its own navigation services


 Backed by abundant information provision contents and high computing power of their information centers, smartphones are becoming increasingly augmented with navigation functions that can compete well with those offered by car navigation systems. For instance, some smartphone applications can do more than car navigation systems, such as the best route computing based on real-time data, and voice recognition.
Services for smartphones Nokia  Nokia Maps first appeared on OVI Store in 2007 for use on Symbian-based devices. NAVITIME services by NAVITIME Japan made available on Nokia E61.
Google  Google Maps Navigation services introduced in 2009. Use on Android-based devices began in 2010. Map data are supplied to both iPhone and Android models.
Zenrin DataCom  "Itsumo Navi" (navigation anytime anywhere): map data delivery service for iPhone started in 2009 and for Android models in 2010.
Apple  In announcing its new OS for mobile devices, iOS6, Apple announced plans to start its all-new map service that will replace the Google Maps app. This marks Apple's first original navigation services including guidance reflecting traffic jam updates. Apple also announced a new version of its speech-based function, Siri, suggesting the company's aggressive approach to the automotive market.
NAVITIME Japan  The mobile navigation service, introduced in 2002, now works on iPhone, Android and other smartphones as well under the name of NAVITIME.
 NAVITIME features "total navigation" that suggests the best route to the destination by combining all means of transportation (foot, train, car, bus, air, etc.) and "drive supporter" that guides the driver using the GPS unit in smartphones.



Auto industry challenges smartphones and IT industries


Trends in auto industry 2009 2010 2011 2012
(1) Integration of smartphone computing results in onboard car navigation systems (data sharing) * Toyota/KDDI/NAVITIME Japan sets the destination searchable by a mobile phone
    * Fujitsu Ten announces "AVN-F01i" car navigation system that works with iPhone
* Denso starts NaviCon service
      * Aisin AW introduces app that works with smartphones
(2) Integration of smartphone features in onboard car navigation systems (functional integration)     * Denso announces ARPEGGiO
      * Clarion announces "SmartAccess" a cloud-computing telematics service
(3) Display of navigation computing results on onboard devices (dependence on smartphones) * Honda announces a center-mounted car navigation display
  * Clarion allies with Nokia for Terminal Mode development
(later changed to MirrorLink)
    * Alpine announces MirrorLink-compatible onboard models
* Panasonic introduces MirrorLink for Toyota's European models
* Aisin AW launches "Navielite" navigation app for iPhone
      →* Integrated with Toyota's onboard audio unit having a display installed
    * Toyota announces the concept of its on-demand display system
      * Toyota starts smartphone-based telematics service in Thailand
* Honda starts "internavi Pocket" app service
  →Connectivity to a display component also announced
(4) Other trends   * Development of a smart cradle announced (Pioneer)
    →* Offered for use on "docomo DriveNet"
    * Toyota allies with Microsoft for cloud-computing service development
      * Hitachi announces cloud-computing telematics service solutions

 With abundant information providing content and the high computing power of their information centers, today's smartphones are offering features that outperform the onboard car navigation systems. The auto industry is beginning to use smartphones in combination with their onboard navigation and information systems. While pursuing the benefits that the drivers could get from smartphone services, the auto industries are seeking ways to increase the commercial values of their onboard information systems at the same time.

 The recent trends in the auto industry are reported below under four headings:

  (1) "Data sharing" to send the results of a destination search on a smartphone to the onboard navigation unit
  (2) "Functional integration" to control smartphone features from the onboard navigation unit
  (3) "Dependence on smartphones" to display the results of computing by a smartphone on the onboard navigation unit
  (4) Other trends of interest


(1) Data sharing

 Results of computing by smartphone apps such as a destination search are displayed on an onboard navigation unit.
Denso NaviCon  The NaviCon was introduced in 2011 that sends the result of destination searches from a smartphone to a car navigation system. It is being made available in more car navigation models in 2012 (Toyota factory-mounted models, Fujitsu Ten and JVC Kenwood models released in 2012).
 NaviCon is downloadable from the App Store and Google Play and accepts more than 100 apps.
Fujitsu Ten iPhone-friendly  The iPhone-friendly car navigation unit, introduced in 2011, displays images taken by an iPhone camera on the car navigation unit along with directions to the destination.
 The company also offers "DokoCAR (Where is my car?)," "TwitDrive," "Car News Reader" and other driver-assist apps, all downloadable free from the App Store.
Aisin AW Smartphone-
friendly app
 Search results and contacts registered in a smartphone can be set as destinations on the car navigation unit. The app also allows fuel economy information and eco-trial logs to be sent from the car navigation unit to a smartphone for viewing.
 Compatible with both iPhone and Android devices. Works with aftermarket car navigation units for Toyota dealers.


(2) Functional integration

 Smartphone features are sent to an onboard car navigation system for use in combination with the highly reliable features of the onboard information unit.
Denso ARPEGGiO  ARPEGGiO, introduced in 2011, was developed under the theme of "information service for the user to operate smartphones from the car navigation system screen, to use smartphone applications safely in the car."
 The user installs the ARPEGGiO app in his/her smartphone and activates the app after entering the car. The smartphone automatically communicates (via Bluetooth) with the ARPEGGiO-compatible car navigation unit and all ARPEGGiO-compatible smartphone applications are shown in the car navigation unit's screen. Implemented in Toyota's NHSD-W62G original navigation system. Offered as Smart G-Book ARPEGGiO app for smartphones.
Clarion Smart Access  "Smart Access-compatible navigation" was introduced in 2012 that allows iPhone apps to be displayed and controlled on an onboard navigation unit.
 Other than the capability to communicate with smartphones, Smart Access offers a cloud-based telematics service that includes a Vehicle Relational Management System (VRM), Customer Relational Management System (CRM) and emergency call (E Call) service.


(3) Dependence of smartphones

 Navigation computing is performed by a smartphone while an onboard navigation unit is used to operate the smartphone and display the results of computing.
 Only a display device is installed in cars without onboard car navigation units and all navigation functions are performed by a smartphone.
Honda internavi Route  In 2009, Honda announced the "internavi Route" feature that performs a route search on Honda's server and sends and displays the route on the onboard car navigation system. This set an industrial fashion to perform navigation computing offboard and to send the results to an onboard device.
internavi Pocket  In 2012, a navigation feature was added to "Drive Locator," one of apps for smartphones on "internavi LINC." The new feature is offered as "internavi Pocket" service.
 By connecting the iPhone with "internavi Pocket" installed to the dual-size display component "WX-135CP" having a 6.1-inch liquid crystal display, the user is guided to the destination with the map displayed in a large screen.
Clarion Terminal Mode/
 In 2010, Clarion entered into a technical partnership with Nokia, the key player in industrial standardization initiatives in Europe, and announced the development of "Terminal Mode," a standard specification for sending results of computing from a smartphone to an onboard unit.
 The new standard allows numerous applications and services developed for smartphones to be used on onboard devices as well. It aims to increase user convenience and bring about a major change to onboard information systems. The name "Terminal Mode" was changed later to "MirrorLink."
Alpine MirrorLink
compliant display
 In 2011, Alpine launched a MirrorLink-compliant display (App Link Station: ICS-X8) in Europe.
 By connecting Nokia701, a smartphone with full features of navigation, music, phone and other applications, the user can turn the App Link Station into an onboard device for an enjoyable drive.
Panasonic MirrorLink
compliant display
and audio unit
 In 2011, Panasonic delivered its MirrorLink-compliant display and audio unit for Toyota's iQ model for Europe, as the world's first MirrorLink-based automaker's original equipment.
 The user can have smartphone apps and iPhone4 apps displayed on the onboard display and remotely control smartphone apps from the onboard touch panel.
Aisin AW Navielite  In 2011, Aisin AW introduced the "Navielite" navigation app for iPhone, a full-featured smartphone app built on the company's know-how about onboard navigation systems. It guides the driver by speech guidance, enlarged display and a 3D display.
 In 2012, Aisin AW announced a new feature for communicating with an audio display unit (DAN-W62) on Toyota cars.
Toyota On-demand display  In 2011, Toyota announced its concept of a smartphone-friendly onboard system called the "On-demand display" representing telematics' departure from car navigation. The display unit is capable of sending operational information to a smartphone as well as receiving and displaying information from the smartphone.
 The main function is to display information and, as such, the onboard unit does not have a high-performance processor as do conventional car navigation units. Map display, route setting and other operations are done by the smartphone.
Telematics service  In 2012, Toyota started the smartphone-based telematics services in Thailand (called smart G-Book). Special versions of the Toyota Corolla Altis, Fortuner, and Hilux Vigo Double Cab are sold with three-year privilege of using the smart G-Book services and standard feature of an audio display unit that communicates with smartphones.
 Services available on smart G-Book include route guidance reflecting real-time traffic information, operator-assisted destination setting, and accident and emergency calls.


(4) Other trends of interest

 Moves toward collaboration between smartphones and onboard information devices
Pioneer Smart Cradle  An onboard car navigation system typically uses a GPS navigation device to locate itself in a road. When in an environment where the system cannot receive signals from satellites, it switches to dead (or deduced) reckoning based on the vehicle's data to maintain the estimate of the vehicle's current location as accurate as possible.
 Since smartphones are not linked with vehicle data, they only use GPS navigation. Although they can use a dead reckoning method by tracking the known GPS positions, smartphones provide a less accurate location of the vehicle's current position compared to onboard navigation devices.
 This drawback is now corrected to an extent by the new system with a built-in gyroscope and an accelerometer that performs an advanced process called "dead reckoning computing" in the onboard navigation unit to improve the accuracy of own position location.
 The "Smart Cradle" was announced in 2010 and made available for use with docomo's DriveNet app in 2011.
Toyota Cloud-based
 In 2011, Toyota and Microsoft reached an agreement to form partnership for the development of cloud services based on Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform. The two companies aim to develop an all-new global cloud platform by 2015.
 Toyota announced the global implementation of the "Toyota Smart Center" that optimally controls energy consumption by linking people, vehicles and homes, and the construction of a multi-cloud service (T-MACS) aimed at offering second-generation telematics services.
Hitachi Cloud-based
telematics service
 In 2012, Hitachi announced cloud-based telematics service solutions.
 Hitachi is developing cloud telematics service based on its experience in developing the information system for the Nissan Leaf EV that was put to commercial use in 2010.



Direction of evolution

 The relationship between car navigation and smartphones is uncertain at present although development efforts are likely to continue for several years toward "greater collaboration with smartphones" in two directions, namely "dependence on smartphones" and "functional integration."
Increased collaboration with smartphones  Smartphone services have become exceptionally irresistible for the auto industry. Efforts toward "enhanced user convenience" will be made rapidly such as route search and guidance based on real traffic conditions by linking the smartphone's "real-time information gathering and processing" capabilities with onboard car navigation systems.
Possible forms of collaboration Dependence on smartphones  Sending the smartphone's functions directly to the onboard navigation system will be established as a way to offer navigation services at a minimum cost.
 The number of users may increase if navigation functions are implemented easily in cars without navigation devices installed.
Functional integration  The smartphone's functions will be sent directly to car navigation and used as integral part of the onboard information device. This will be implemented by an application that focuses on the technical reliability of the onboard information device and security from external risks.
 Carmakers will exploit the factory-mounted onboard system to increase vehicle safety and economy by using vehicle information and linking external information with the vehicle's operational control, etc.
Technical trends Technical collaboration  There will be further fusion and technical alliance between IT and auto industries.
Development of onboard apps  The auto industry will adopt technologies from the IT industry and expand sales of apps as an integral part of car navigation systems.
Enhanced communication capabilities  Introduction of cloud-computing technologies will continue. Communication capacities will be enhanced, leading to greater reliance on external computing capacities rather than investing in increasing the computing capacities of onboard information devices.

<Automotive Industry Portal MarkLines>