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Automotive Articles >> Technology

New Innovation Helps Commuters Avoid Traffic

(ARA) - It’s a fact. More vehicles are on the road. People are driving farther. Traffic continues to get worse and spending time bumper-to-bumper is an increasingly common occurrence. And traffic is not simply a stress-generating annoyance -- it’s costly. According to research by the Texas Transportation Institute, drivers lose $11.71 in gas money and job time loss for every hour spent in traffic.
Congestion on the roads isn’t going away any time soon. However, new technology innovations can help drivers avoid it -- whether it’s accidents, road closures or simply slow-moving traffic -- informational tools that help re-route around traffic jams are now accessible from the dashboard of almost any car, giving drivers a new sense of control.

One of the newest in-car assistants is Pioneer Electronics’ AVIC-N2 in-car navigation system with XM NavTraffic. While it can’t make traffic disappear, the device does the next best thing. It provides detailed traffic information and dynamic route guidance that directs the driver away from and around traffic, easing stress and putting the fun back in driving.

Once only found in expensive luxury vehicles, in-car navigation systems are readily available and more affordable than ever. By utilizing global positioning satellites (GPS), navigation systems provide turn-by-turn directions to any destination in the country. They are also a great source of information, able to direct you to points of interest you may have not known existed in your own back yard. They are especially helpful outside your familiar home zone, for finding banks or gas stations or new destinations like skate parks, museums or golf courses.

The beauty of Pioneer’s system is its ability to multi-task, providing traffic data while navigating and entertaining. In addition to door-to-door route guidance for the United States and Canada, the DVD-ROM database features nearly 11-million points of interest in more than 248 different categories, all with a simple touch of the screen. It can even provide stock quotes and sports scores through XM data service.

The AVIC-N2 is the first aftermarket navigation system to offer satellite-based traffic information using XM Satellite Radio’s NavTraffic service, which provides in-depth traffic data for 22 major metropolitan cities across the nation. With Pioneer’s navigation system and a paid subscription to XM Satellite Radio’s NavTraffic, drivers have access to traffic events and road flow conditions displayed on a motorized 6.5-inch touch panel display. Drivers also can choose an option that includes XM’s 150 digital radio channels including music, sports, news, talk and entertainment programming.

“Traffic information that is quick, accurate and accessible is one of the most frequent demands of everyday commuters,” says Roderick MacKenzie, director, advanced applications, XM Satellite Radio. “Our NavTraffic service, along with systems like the AVIC-N2 save time and money while helping relieve the stress too often associated with driving in traffic.”

XM NavTraffic service utilizes information collected from a wide variety of sources, including road sensors, traffic cameras, state and local transportation departments, and law enforcement. The data is compiled by NAVTEQ, a leading global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions. XM then delivers the data to the navigation system via its powerful satellites.

As a replacement for conventional car radios, the AVIC-N2 fits in virtually any dashboard, providing audio/video entertainment, navigation and detailed traffic information. With a quick touch of a screen that pops out of the dash, drivers can determine the exact location of traffic incidents, a description of each occurrence and the distance of the events from the vehicle’s current location. It even indicates the speed of traffic ahead with flashing green, yellow and red lines along the detailed route. Green indicates traffic moving 40 mph or faster, yellow from 20 to 40 mph and red signifies traffic moving at an average of less than 20 mph.

In addition to navigating the roads and re-routing around traffic, the system can also be used for audio or video entertainment. DVD movies can be viewed by rear-seat passengers (an optional screen will need to be installed), while the driver and front-seat passenger enjoy listening to music.

It’s not uncommon for a driver stuck in traffic to scan the AM radio dial to try to find out where the traffic jam is located. Some people go to the trouble of getting out their cell phone to call home and have someone check online for traffic jams. All of these efforts become unnecessary with new technologies from companies like Pioneer, helping commuters make better decisions about which route to take and helping them find important points of interest along the way.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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