A growing number of automakers are now incorporating Google’s map-related technologies into the navigation systems, adding data-rich features like real-time traffic, street view images, local search and other relevant information.
Toyota is the latest to bring Google’s familiar features to its cars, announcing today that it will add Street View imagery and Google’s Panoramio photo-sharing service in its Toyota and Lexus models (although only in Europe for now).
Google Street View, which gives drivers real-life photos of their destination to ensure they arrive at the right location, is already available on some Audi and Mercedes luxury models, but Toyota is the first mainstream brand to offer the service. Other automakers including BMW, Hyundai and Kia offer different Google map-related features, like Google Places (point of interest details) and Send-To-Car (uploaded driving directions).
Letting drivers access relevant, comprehensive information while on the go — presents huge opportunities for companies like Google, Nokia and TomTom, all leaders in mapping technology.
Nokia, for instance, recently announced Nokia HERE Auto, an onboard navigation system that offers a helicopter view when you’re driving on a highway, a zoomed-in view when you’re in the city and street level images when you’re approaching the destination.
One of the big reasons Microsoft decided to buy Nokia’s smartphone business was to gain access to its HERE data mapping technology in order to challenge Google’s map business. TomTom, meanwhile, is adding traffic jam warnings to its real-time traffic routing software, advising drivers when to slow down if necessary or how to avoid the backup entirely.