GPS Gazette

3D Navigation

There has been quite a lot of discussion lately about Google and VW joining forces to create a in-car 3D navigation system. However, after digging around a bit I have found that this wasn’t the first 3D navigation project. 3DVU, an Israel based company has in the past few months made quite a few announcements about partnerships with companies like Intel and Panasonic for the production of 3d navigation products.

According to the announcements made, Panasonic Automotive Systems will incorporate 3DVU’s visual map™ technology in the Panasonic Rear Seat Infotainment Center in an effort to combine location based information, entertainment and state of the art 3D visualization. Unfortunately the only image that I was able to find isn’t a real photo but an illustration (and a not so good illustration) and you can see it below.

Panasonic and 3dvu navigation system

You can read the Press release here or as a PDF file at 3DVU’s website

In addition to that, with another press release in the beginning of the month they announced that Intel was going to showcase the use of 3DVU’s Visual Map™ to PDA, PND, SmartPhone and handheld devices based on Intel® XScale® technology at the 3GSM 2006 in Barcelona. According with the press release

3DVU has overcome major technical barriers to enhance the mobile navigation experience by providing smooth continuous movements with 3D perspective over images with terrain elevation in such limited computing devices.

“Advanced 3D visualization of imagery and terrain elevation places heavy computational requirements on processors, particularly on mobile devices. Thanks to the next generation Intel® XScale application processor, 3DVU technology can offer significantly better performance and higher quality. The combination of Intel’s high performance processors and 3DVU Visual Map solution can significantly enhance user navigation experience” noted Isaac Levanon 3DVU chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Here are a couple of illustrations from the PR.

samsung device and 3dvu navigation system
pnd device and 3dvu navigation system

You can read the PR here or as a PDF file at 3DVU’s website

3DVU, the past few months, has also secured several other partnerships in an effort to bring 3D reality to Navigation Systems. Here are the links to a couple more announcements.

Intermap-3DVU partnership
QNX-3DVU partnership

Siemens VDO, is another company that has joined the race for 3D navigation. With a press release in December last year, they have announced that they are working on the development of an automotive three-dimensional navigation system and that the development is already in an advanced stage and they expect it to start shipping in 2007. Siemens’s system is based on the open, freely scalable system platform TLA (Top Level Architecture).

Here are a couple of extracts of the press release that I found interesting.

One highlight of the 3D navigation system from Siemens VDO is the photorealistic representation of urban scenarios. With an eye to better orientation in large cities, the company digitalized numerous well-known structures and integrated them into the database with very precise real-life images. In addition, many buildings are constructed by the computer based on their floor plans. As a result, the monitor displays true-to-life images of entire streets that the driver can view from any desired perspective without distortion as if zooming with a video camera.

The next step in development will make driving with 3D navigation even more relaxed: intersection situations will become even clearer because the onboard computer will automatically simulate the entire scenario, even including lane markings and signage, photorealistically within a split second, and insert the planned route into the three-dimensional graphics.

Together with a camera, the navigation system would even be able to recognize traffic lights and signs and integrate them into the graphics. These kinds of functions and applications are possible only with Top Level Architecture (TLA) from Siemens VDO. With its standardized interfaces, this open, freely scalable platform offers the necessary flexibility to integrate new trends, developments, and technologies into vehicles quickly and efficiently.

Here is a picture of Siemens VDO 3D navigation system

Siemen's VDO 3D navigation system

And a closeup

Siemen's VDO 3D navigation system closeup

Press Release

I guess we will be seeing more companies in the near future creating 3D navigation systems. However, I am not entirely convinced yet that 3D representation of routes will actually be helpful, I guess I just have to wait and see.

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