This is how the in-dash navigation should look like

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Audi MMI Navigation Geoawesomeness

Even in the age of smartphones most people would agree that build-in navigation systems are a useful feature in your car. They offer larger screens with no extra cables and annoying mounting kits. Most of the new navigation systems work offline with periodical map updates and real-time traffic services.

Nothing really fancy but still quite pricey… Automakers sell embedded systems typically for $500 to $2,000 offering a solution that is not any better than a high-end PND or a premium smartphone navigation app. There are however two exceptions… Audi and Tesla.

Audi MMI Navigation is a great example that you can create an impressive infotainment system without a touchscreen. In fact touchscreen wouldn’t make much sense as the screen is hidden behind a steering wheel (instead of analog speedometer). It’s a safety feature as it makes you focus on the road rather than looking at the central panel. Driver interacts with the navigation using a joystick with a touchpad equipped with handwriting recognition.

What I mostly like about it is how Audi engineers designed the User Interface to optimize the usage of space on the screen. Take a look:

Tesla went one step further. The model S features a huge 17-inch touchscreen in a central panel… It’s like putting a large PC monitor in the dash. Tesla has also ditched almost every physical button and control. The navigation allows you to use Google Maps and it looks amazing.

Tesla Model S navigation

But guys at Tesla didn’t rest on their laurels. In addition to the navigation directions on the 17″ touchscreen, the map is also pulled up to the main driver console, to the left of the speedometer.

press01_autopilot

It seems that Tesla has managed to create the best in-car navigation multimedia system yet. We hope that other car makers will also try to rise their standards and offer something stunning, so that when the next time you pay $2,000 for in-dash sat nav, it’s actually worth it.

Aleks Buczkowski
I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.
  • Mike Blumenthal

    I, like you, always found in dash gps over priced and that navigation on my iPhone was distracting. Surprisingly for me though was how the Apple Watch removed the distractions in using the phone and was the perfect navigation aid.

    Despite the minimalist interface to navigation, or perhaps because of it, navigation using the phone-watch combo has been stellar. Easy to use, no distractions, there when you need it and with haptic feedback it’s almost like you are wearing the Internet.

    • Aleks Buczkowski

      Hi Mike, I must say that even though I’m a total gadget addict I couldn’t find any rational reason to buy the Apple Watch. You just gave me one:).

      • Mike Blumenthal

        Well keep me posted.

        PS obviously you should wait for the upcoming hardware upgrade.