Thursday, July 21, 2011

Freight Truckers May Approve Of An Augmented Reality GPS

Smartphone App Might Provide Safer Navigation System
Shipping News Feature

US – CANADA – MEXICO – Truckers hauling freight are particularly vulnerable to faults inherent in the reliance on GPS, witness the number of big rigs pictured stuck in tiny country roads, but another primary criticism of in cab navigation aids is the necessity for the truck driver to have his or her eyes stray from the road to study the ongoing route. Now a system which has been trialled in Europe has become available throughout North America, and probably represents another major step in reducing the risk factor.

Wikitude is an augmented reality browser from the Apple school of products, that is to say the system overlays a virtual dimension onto a true reality image. Using an android phone, drivers can view a live picture of the road they are travelling on using a screen overlaid with the proposed route. As the image is ‘live’ theoretically one never needs to be unaware of what is happening on the road ahead, even when looking toward the GPS screen.

Additionally the smartphone app automatically updates the route information without the need to constantly check a website to ensure data is current and furthermore a route remains operational even if the driver leaves the car or truck and continues on foot. It carries a range of additional service enhancers familiar to standard GPS users including 3D mapping, verbal instructions and specific trip planners.

The Wikitude Drive app underwent testing in Austria, Germany and Switzerland prior to its introduction in the UK, Spain, France and Italy and now across the Atlantic, but apparently only works for users of some Samsung, LG, HTC, Google Nexus and Sony Ericsson phones at the moment. It seems likely however that this is only the first device we shall see coming to market in the next few months as the advantages over the current first generation two dimensional GPS devices available, coupled with the low cost, a mere $9.99 for the Wikitude Drive, may prove to be a must have, particularly for cross country freight haulage outfits.

A demonstration video of the Wikitude Drive app can be viewed HERE.