5 Smart navigation systems to help you get around faster

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While traditional GPS devices are being replaced by smartphone apps, a new generation of smart navigation systems is on the way.

  • How do I use my iPhone as a GPS? You will need an in-car mount and a navigation app, such as Google Maps or Waze.
  • What is a HUD? A heads-up display. This is a transparent screen that puts information (e.g. GPS directions) in your eye-line.
  • Where can I find cool car accessories? Check out our carefully curated collection!

The advance of technology always occurs in stages. In travel, the horse and cart was replaced by a gasoline-powered car. As the years pass, electric vehicles will probably supersede the gas guzzlers.

Similarly, the way we navigate on the road has changed. Paper maps were replaced by GPS devices. In turn, smartphone apps such as Google Maps and Waze have made traditional GPS devices all but obsolete.

Smart navigation systems represent the next big step forward in this particular timeline. But what exactly are these systems? And when will we get to try them? Here’s a look at the current state of play.

Garmin Speak Amazon Alexa GPS

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Garmin Speak GPS

This smart device from Garmin lets you ask for turn-by-turn directions and traffic updates using your voice. Along with audio instructions, you get visual cues to help you with selecting the correct lane. (Price: $99 USD)

Chris Digital AI Co-Driver

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Chris AI co-driver

Ever wish you had a helpful co-driver? Chris fills the role perfectly with AI. The device sticks on to your windshield, providing turn-by-turn directions. You can also answer calls and change songs using this device. (Price: $353 USD, pre-order)

Hudly Full Color Heads-Up Display

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Hudly HUD

If you are happy using Google Maps or Waze but hate peering at a tiny screen, Hudly can help. This small transparent display lets you see GPS directions without taking your eyes off the road. (Price: $239 USD)

HUDWAY Glass Heads-Up Display

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HUDWAY dash-top display

If you’re looking for something more affordable, HUDWAY is a good option. This compact screen offers a crystal-clear view of your route, and it works with a variety of navigation apps. (Price: $49.95 USD)

BeeLine Bike Navigation Device

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BeeLine bike navigation

Of course, navigation isn’t exclusively for car drivers. BeeLine is a device that clips onto your bike to provide cycling directions. Once you have selected your route, you simply follow the arrow until you reach your destination. (Price: 131.16 USD)

What is the future of in-car navigation?

Thankfully, we won’t have to wait long for something more exciting. HERE, a research company owned by Audi, BMW and Daimler, is planning to release a brand new in-car navigation system next year.

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Live data for faster journeys

Whereas traditional GPS devices only receive rare mapping updates, HERE plans to send live data to your car for every journey. This will include information on the traffic, the weather, the condition of the road, and more.

In addition, this system will adjust to your preferences and suggest appropriate routes. You will even be able to park up and continue navigation on foot via your smartphone.

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The 2019 Porsche Cayenne

HERE technology will appear first in Audi’s new A8 sedan and the 2019 Porsche Cayenne.

Meanwhile, both TomTom and Garmin — remember them? — are making plans for the future. TomTom’s chief executive, Harold Goddijn, recently told The New York Times that his company is “collecting data on a large scale, [and] learning how to aggregate it to spot trends in traffic for autonomous vehicles.”

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Beat the self-driving traffic

This is a long-term bet, but probably a good one. Self-driving cars rely on detailed data to make good decisions, and many more autonomous vehicles will be released in the next five to ten years.

The long road ahead

It’s abundantly clear that the standalone GPS device is a dying breed. Smart navigation systems are the inevitable successors — and the new technology is arriving very soon.

Are you excited to try this technology? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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