New Features of the Garmin Automotive Guidance System

By: Boruch Fishman

I talked with Sam Tlecani, the owner and chief driver of Pyramids Limo, a Denver Limo and Denver Airport Limousine company. Sam has been happily using a Garmin GPS automotive control device for over a year now. The Garmin is portable, and can be attached to his windshield or dashboard with a suction device. Before each fare, Sam determines, which limousine he will be using for the job, and then transfers the Garmin to the appropriate vehicle, and he's good to go.

Sam talked with me and described some of the features of his Garmin model. Before he heads to a fare, he enters the destination address into his Garmin GPS device. Immediately, an animated projection of the street he's on appears on the screen. A continual readout of the distance to his next turn is displayed to the right of the screen, along with an arrow showing which direction he will need to take. Besides, at every turn Sam receives a voice prompt. As he approaches the corner the voice says, "turn left in 200 feet," or turn right in 200 feet," etc. If he should make a wrong turn, or if at the last minute he decides he deliberately wants to take a different route, the Garmin automatically recalculates the course from his current locationi, and continues to give instructions. When Sam arrives at the address, the voice prompt tells him he has arrived.

Sam's Garmin allows him to download new maps, and keeps him informed about traffic conditions. The display screen can provide a 2D or 3D view of the route. Development has moved quickly in the GPS field, and even as Sam and his fellow users are enjoying the current GSP automotive guidance , companies such as Garmin are developing a host of new features.

1) The newest models now offer lane guidance as well as street guidance. 2) Newer Garmin models automatically route the driver around congested areas. 3) Garmin and other PBS devices allow the user to purchase and download custom files. One custom file, for example, provides 6,000,000 points of interest, including food and drink, lodging, fuel stops, attractions, entertainment, shopping, transit, bank|ATM, emergency services, post offices, camp grounds, RV parks, movie theaters and more. Custom GPS files offer anything from routing to the nation's airports to distance projections on most of the nations major golf courses. 5) Most PBS devices can only provide compass readings if the vehicle is traveling 2 miles an hour or more. With the electronic compass option, the owner can get instant compass readings even when standing still. 6) Additional features include an altimeter, warning alerts for speed and red light cameras, and the ability to interface with blue tooth and receive GPS.

Companies continue to develop new features at a rate that challenges the imagination. For a limousine driver, it is almost more challenging to keep up with his GPS device changes, than to keep up with the road conditions.

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