From good to great: the next step in embedded navigation
Anna Bednarczyk·Feb 07, 2020

From good to great: the next step in embedded navigation

Anna Bednarczyk
Sr. Manager Product Marketing
Feb 07, 2020 · 7 min read
From Good to Great: The next step in embedded navigation | TomTom Blog

Carmakers spend years developing and investing in embedded navigation and infotainment systems. But with the rise of smartphone applications, they are quickly losing the race to convenience and connectivity. Find out why users are demanding more from their IVI systems and the solutions that can drive the next generation of embedded navigation.

A potential customer walks into a showroom and leaves having purchased one of the latest car models. They are thrilled with their new purchase and are excited to start using it on the road. However, during their first drive, they start noticing that the map in their infotainment system is not completely up to date – it is already one year old.

Faced with a choice, the once happy customer will either relieve themselves of a few hundred euros for their dealership to update the map on their in-dash navigation system or, perhaps more commonly, will stop using that map altogether and start relying on their smartphone instead.

While far from ideal, this scenario happens every day on roads across the world. Embedded, -offline navigation can only take drivers so far, especially when the alternative is the always up-to-date map on a smartphone that is always connected to the internet.

Let’s have a look at the top three pain points that carmakers are facing with embedded navigation today, and what the solution is for each of them:

1. Systems that fall behind reality: maps and software

When faced with the choice between outdated maps and a smartphone with connectivity and accurate location services, it is easy to see why as drivers we might neglect in-vehicle technology in favor of mobile devices.

For car manufacturers who spend valuable time, money and effort developing specifically customized embedded navigation for each new car model released, outdated navigation software can have even more frustrating results.

Carmakers can pour resources into an attractive and intuitive user interface but if drivers find the navigation to be outdated, they will be less likely to give their five-star approval. After all, you don’t buy a newly released smartphone and expect the software to be years out of date. For the success of a new vehicle release, navigation cannot lag behind.

Even more importantly, OEMs invest in customers’ safety. Drivers who neglect embedded navigation systems due to outdated software cannot take full advantage of assisted driving safety features like speed limit and hazard warnings, all features that require an up to date navigation map.

Car manufacturers have invested in a variety of IVI features to ensure drivers use their navigation systems in the safest way possible. An easy-to-use user interface, large screens, seamless destination entry through voice controls are all designed to keep distractions at a minimum.

Using smartphones instead poses a very real danger to those on the road. Not only does the small screen add to the growing number of in-vehicle distractions through incoming notifications, in many cases it is often illegal.

Today, people expect the entire navigation system to be always up to date. This is by far the most important aspect of embedded navigation. If information is accurate and up to date, people will leave the smartphones in the pocket.

2. Longer software development cycles

So why are embedded navigation systems so outdated compared to mobile devices? The answer lies in the discrepancy between the development cycles of software for consumer electronics in comparison to automotive products.

Software development for devices such as smartphones is a relatively simple process that takes approximately six months. Updates are deployed automatically over-the-air (OTA) so although consumers may not notice the update happening, an up-to-date and responsive system has become standard.

OEMs, on the other hand, take around two to three years to develop infotainment systems. This process of software development is not only complex but can prove extremely costly. Unfinished infotainment systems can delay the release of new car lines that result in large and unnecessary revenue losses.

As safety is a main focus of automotive industries, longer software development cycles are inevitable.

If your smartphone software crashes it may be annoying, but it will not compromise your physical safety. If an infotainment system crashes, it is deeply integrated into the vehicle and car makers must be certain that no other vehicle functions will be impacted. Car manufacturers must carry out a variety of tests to ensure that the driver’s safety is always the first priority.

As customer expectations continue to rise with the quality and connectivity of everyday consumer electronics, the automotive industry must keep up.

Drivers demand a similar experience throughout their devices. As consumers come to expect functions like automatic updates from their everyday devices, they also expect this from in-vehicle navigation. Taking a vehicle to a dealer to update navigation systems may seem old-fashioned and the user will simply disregard the option in favor of a simpler solution.

"As customer expectations continue to rise with the quality and connectivity of everyday consumer electronics, the automotive industry must keep up."

Anna Bednarczyk

Senior Manager Product Marketing, TomTom

3. A missing revenue stream

Offline embedded navigation systems currently come in bundles that can cost the customer thousands. This one-off payment may make sense in the short-term but leaves carmakers without potential future revenue streams.

The global connected car market is rapidly growing to meet the needs of consumers and government initiatives towards safer roads.

Below are just a few ways that automotive manufacturers can tap into the ever-increasing revenue opportunities:

  • Monetization after the subscription expires: When you buy a new vehicle the navigation system often comes with a license to maps and online services such as live traffic for a specified period. Once this license expires automakers can charge for the continual use of these services.

  • Upselling services: As connected navigation services rely on subscriptions, OEMs can upsell features and monetize services that require a large initial cost to build. For example, if a driver works in a city where they struggle to find a space to park during rush hours, they can upgrade to additional services such as on and off-street parking. The user now has a system that can accurately predict their journey time and take the luck out of finding that elusive morning parking space, improving user satisfaction.

  • In-Vehicle Commerce Opportunities: TomTom and Xevo have collaborated to deliver the next generation of personalized in-vehicle commerce. Using a driver’s location and route information, OEMs can offer extremely personalized commence recommendations on your journey. Hungry along the route? The system will offer you relevant recommendations and retail locations. From ordering a cup of coffee for pick-up to being offered a fuel stop at a nearby station when fuel levels are low

"TomTom’s stack of location technology and online services are perfectly suited to combat the pain points of today’s embedded systems."

Anna Bednarczyk

Senior Manager Product Marketing, TomTom

The future of embedded navigation

There is no need to compromise a great automotive product with a subpar navigation experience. TomTom’s stack of location technology and online services are perfectly suited to combat the pain points of today’s embedded systems.

Using trusted network partners and powerful cloud computing, TomTom can offer secure, reliable and scalable navigation experience, through smart use of online services and OTA software and map updates. This ensures the system is always up-to-date and responsive for a user experience parallel to that of smartphones.

At TomTom, we have vast experience in the consumer market and automotive world in developing connected navigation devices for 25 years. Combining the insights from both industries put us in a position to truly understand the needs of drivers. We deliver what people need and more, all safety integrated into the vehicle’s embedded system.

Through this integration, we can read vehicle parameters to empower advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS) applications, increasing safety for all. Hazards warnings, advanced speed assist or lane level guidance are just some examples where embedded system outperforms your smartphone.

Not all older vehicles come equipped with connectivity functionalities. But with consumer pressure and new government legislation for improved automotive safety, the number will only increase. With the help of service providers such as TomTom, carmakers have the unique opportunity to both keep up with the experience of smartphone navigation and through safe integration with the vehicle, outperform it.

With a truly integrated, connected and personalized navigation experience, no driver will have the urge to check their phone on the journey. Instead, leaving it in their pocket, with their eye's safety on the road ahead.

Want to learn more?
Contact us today to learn more about how TomTom’s embedded navigation solutions can help your business.

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