JAPAN: New Toyota sat-nav delivers maps on demand
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will begin rolling out its new G-Book mX telematics service and a compatible hard disk drive (HDD) navigation system with the launch of new vehicles in Japan starting next month.
TMC said the new technology builds on its current G-Book system with the addition of map-on-demand - claimed to be the world's first technology for automatically delivering differential map data to car navigation systems - to create a more user-friendly and comprehensive telematics service.
The new system includes features such as 'probe communication traffic information', which uses data from other similarly-equipped vehicles to provide drivers with precise information on traffic congestion.
This new service is available in two configurations: G-Book mX, which comes as standard with the new compatible HDD navigation system and is free, and mX Pro, which is a fee-based service requiring an on-board data communications module (DCM). In addition to the standard services, the mX Pro version features additional services, such as a security service and operator service.
The map on demand service delivers updated navigation maps through a network covering expressways and toll roads throughout the country, as well as ordinary roads near the driver's home and in the vicinity of a driver's intended destination. Drivers can download updated map data by connecting their cell phones to the compatible navigation system. With mX Pro, the on-board DCM performs automatic, constant updates of map data. In the case of expressways and toll roads, updated data is sent out approximately seven days after a new thoroughfare is open to traffic.
In addition, a service will be available that enables users to download updated map data from the internet onto a CD-ROM, which can then be loaded into the vehicle's navigation system to update it.
Map on demand can be used for three years from the time a new vehicle is registered; after three years, drivers can continue the service by purchasing the latest software from a Toyota dealer.
Probe communication traffic information, unique to Toyota, gathers driving data - such as speed and position - from vehicles equipped with G-Book mX to provide drivers with alternate routes for avoiding traffic congestion. Because it makes use of the on-board DCM, the information gathering capability of this service is said to be superior to similar systems, which rely solely on cell phones, and efficiently stores information about traffic congestion in real time at the G-Book centre. In this way the service supplements vehicle information and communication system (VICS) information with updates on traffic congestion, providing drivers with highly accurate predictions about the current traffic situation and suggestions for the best alternate routes to take.
The new compatible navigation systems will be equipped with a Bluetooth AV profile that allows users to connect wirelessly to cell phones and portable audio devices in order to play music via their car's audio system. Compared to connecting via an FM transmitter, the new system delivers wireless playback with much clearer sound quality, eliminating noise interference and sound distortion, Toyota said.
In addition, a new system called G-Sound Capsule is a music package added to G-Sound, which was part of G-Bool Alpha. In addition to 900 individual songs, 103 capsules of 680 songs will be preinstalled in the new compatible navigation system, and by downloading a required code key users can play them immediately. Of the songs included, 147 classical tracks can be accessed for free.
G-Book mX will also make it possible to request an operator to provide the optimal route to a destination, using probe communication traffic information in a function known as G-Route Search. Vehicles with the mX Pro system will require no cell phone connection or voice communications contract; customers will be able to connect to the operator from their vehicle at the touch of a button.
With the current G-Book Alpha service, only customers who pay a service fee can use Helpnet, an emergency notification system that contacts police and fire departments in the event of a traffic accident or medical emergency and requests that emergency vehicles be dispatched. However, owners of mX-compatible navigation systems will have free access for the first three years following new vehicle registration.
A new service covering Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama and the 23 wards of Tokyo will alert drivers to the presence of an intersection marked with a stop sign, for those intersections that are considered to be particularly dangerous.
New vehicle models launched from this summer will be fitted with a function to warn the driver of an approaching stop sign in the event that the driver seems not to be slowing down appropriately. The warning will be issued based on map information from the navigation system and a precise calculation of the distance between the vehicle's current position and the stop line, which is determined by road-markings detected by an on-board camera.
TMC is also simplifying its five user plans for the current G-Book ALPHA to two.
The automaker also plans to take the on-board technology developed in conjunction with G-Book mX and create a new telematics service tailored to the Chinese market, where demand is expected to be high.