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Navigation For The Future

Navigation For The Future
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“Augmented Reality” is a phrase that speaks to the geek in me. As a Baby Boomer, I was more familiar with “altered reality,” but “augmented reality” sounds good, too. Like me in a push-up bra or after having been Photoshopped—it’s reality, only better.

That is the phrase used by reviewers commenting on Navdy, a navigational system which appears to promise fewer driving accidents as well as bringing a level of super-coolness to our autos.

Remember Tom Cruise in Minority Report where, as a detective in the future, he solved cases by swiping case files and diagrams on a transparent screen in front of him? Just like CNN Anchor John King and the “Magic Screen” he uses for election results, one sweep of his hand and facts wax on and wax off the screen in front of him.

Well, Navdy brings that to our windshield and, besides making you feel like James Bond after a visit to Q, the system also serves a purpose by not requiring drivers to get distracted by phone calls or texts. You can keep your eyes on the road and still not miss important info.

Here’s what Navdy does:

You put the small portable console on your dashboard and flip up a small transparent screen. Navdy then projects an image, (that self adjusts for dark or light conditions), two meters in front of you. It shows your navigation directions, current speed, and a digital tachometer, but Navdy was designed for test pilots, so it does quite a bit more. Navdy greets you by name, listens to your voice commands, lets you take or reject a phone call with a swipe of your hand to the left or right, reads your texts and emails (and lets you compose replies with just your voice) and let you select your music without taking our eyes of the road. Navdy will even tell you when you are low on fuel and automatically reroute you to the nearest gas station.

My Garmin system broke long ago and have had to resort to using my iPhone as a navigational system. This entails much fumbling while hitting the go button, no option to reroute if I hit traffic, and never being able to get the volume loud enough so I can put the phone down and still hear the directions. To me, Navdy sounds like a dream come true. The only pin in the balloon? Navdy costs $800.

If that is too rich for your blood, you might want to investigate Exploride, which at $500 might not break your bank. It, too, uses a screen and gives navigational directions even when you can’t find an internet connection. It also lets you use gestates to control the device and allows you take or make calls and get your music from your Spottily account. It will even have Twitter and Facebook apps built in—I say, “will have” as Exploride isn’t available yet. You will have to wait a few months (though the company is offering the unit for $299 if you pre order at

Carloudy is another navigational console product and is only $259, but it doesn’t allow you to tweet, text or Snapchat. It is strictly to give you navigational directions and other good information like where roadwork and accidents are up ahead on your route. It gets such details from your smartphone and thorough Bluetooth. It is also not yet available but should be shipping in a month or two. Pre-order information may be found at

Other contenders for the futuristic Heads Up Display race include Hudify and iScout (which can switch to a right hand view so you see in front of your face what you would see out of the right hand mirror or if you turned to look over your shoulder).

A few things are certain—the consoles on all products will get thinner, lighter and less obtrusive, prices are bound to come down and soon all us us will have no excuse to be holding our phones in our hands while driving and that will make us all a whole lot safer.

Be careful out there. Let’s all live to see the future.



Kitt Walsh owns a web content company, Behind Blogs, is a regular contributor to CNN Money, a public speaker on Social Media, a book editor and ghostwriter, and freelances as a feature writer, editor and marketing consultant for magazines, newspapers and private clients around the world


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