Klartext: navis before the youngest court

Klartext: navis before the youngest court

The other day, in a car full of high-tech nerds. Navigation is needed. "Where is android auto?", someone asks. A few touch screen printers later he answers the question himself. When the google interface appears, he speaks the destination freely and off he goes. Nobody asks for the onboard navi. Google knows where the traffic is, because there are android phones everywhere. Google knows if the gas station you are driving to will be open when you arrive. And google knows that the car manufacturers, despite their decades of experience, have not managed to build something better into the center console. Therefore they call horrendous prices for being native in the center console. And so the manufacturers stick to their onboard navigation systems, while the users more and more tend to ignore them.


The days I looked at BMW’s new OS7, munich’s new center console system. It brings a similar number of features as mercedes’ MBUX, and like mercedes, the customer has to relearn a few things. The classic hierarchical tree structure of the idrive has been flattened for faster access, has become more flexible. The voice assistant reaches the level of mercedes – not surprising, since both manufacturers use nuance.

Especially that the language drivers run on the fast boards themselves, instead of the language having to be processed in the manufacturer’s cloud, which doesn’t work in tunnels. And still it’s hard for me to name concrete, functional advantages of the onboard navigation system over google maps that would really stand out in everyday life. The disadvantage of "relearning" is immediately apparent to everyone.

The map is not the mobility

In 2015, audi, BMW and daimler each bought equal shares of here maps. In 2018, bosch and continental also joined as small shareholders. These steps mark the realization that, against all odds, there is no other way than to take care of the digital services of mobility in a customer-oriented way. Nevertheless, an agreement among automakers on traffic data is still a long way off. So your mercedes in stuttgart very reliably predicts traffic for you. In flensburg this is already no longer true. And in seville you are on your own. Car manufacturers have an advantage over google: they can incorporate car sensor data into their traffic predictions, which could provide better results if they have enough data points.

However, the amount of data is lacking as long as at least all newer cars are not recorded. The manufacturers all know they should have been talking to each other at least ten, more like twenty years ago, but kept putting it off like the unpleasant cleaning of a team shower drain, even though they could see exactly where google’s journey was going: to the provider of the standard in route planning, be it by foot, by bike, by car or by mass transportation. The next, already far behind competition comes from apple with their smaller share of the smartphone market, and even here many users still prefer to use google maps rather than apple maps, until they are forced to the cupertino variant in the car via apple carplay.

Don’t be a grandpa

Today, google always knows best, based on our android phones, where a traffic jam will last and for how long, and when it’s still worth driving around it. When the autonavis react with their sparse data, the detour down from the highway often takes longer than staying on the track. And the old TMC is like your grandfather with internet memes: always the last to go, when no one needs, wants, understands it anymore.

If you wonder how car manufacturers, as professionals in the field of mobility, let themselves be taken off the hook, don’t forget that google’s rapid growth, like so many US tech companies, has benefited from the huge amounts of money pumped into silicon valley by the military. Still, I wonder how long every automaker thought they could make it on their own. I mean: these expensive center console navis traditionally bring in enormous amounts of money through the configurators. There clicked the self-preservation instinct amazingly late.

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