Automotive navigation shifts into the Cloud

Automotive navigation systems are rapidly transitioning from standalone devices to cloud-connected platforms.

Indeed, approximately 20 percent of in-vehicle navigation systems sold in 2010 are expected to offer connectivity options via an embedded modem or tethered mobile device.

This figure is likely to hit a whopping 90 percent in 2017, amounting to a total of 27 million units sold per year.

“Cloud-sourced navigation is an evolution of connected navigation systems – a trend that started several years ago,” Phil Magney, VP of automotive research at iSuppli, told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“Traditional car navigation systems use databases stored on the device itself but future navigation systems will rely on information that is stored in the cloud.

“[For example], maps, points of interest, traffic and weather are [just some] of the cloud-sourced content that is enabled through connectivity.”

According to Magney, the “rising sales” of navigation systems with two-way connectivity is “being fueled” by the obvious advantages of connecting to the cloud.

“[Cloud-based] navigation systems give motorists access to the most up-to-date databases in the world. [Remember, information] changes constantly, so access to the cloud is vital [for real-time driving data].”

Meanwhile, iSuppli principal automotive analyst Egil Juliussen told TG Daily that static databases will likely “become a thing of the past” over the next 10 years.

“Connectivity means motorists will have multiple options in terms of on-board and off-board navigation resources. [For example], on-board connected navigation systems that store maps on the device will refresh periodically to reflect changes and updates,” he explained.

“In contrast, off-board navigation systems – which access a server for map data – will need constant connectivity. Both employ cloud-based data access.”

As one might expect, traffic information is currently the leading cloud-sourced service for navigation systems – which is constantly updated to reflect the latest road and highway conditions.

However, Juliussen added that there were already multiple, popular cloud-based navigation services, including weather information, Point Of Interest (POI) search, destination download, traffic camera visuals and map updates.