BMW is working on a way to sideload large scale mapping data (like parking structures) to enable a new breed of micro-navigation. The project, Pathfinder, is still in the works, but is being prototyped on BMW 3 Series vehicles, presumably through ConnectedDrive. When punching in a route, the appropriate micro-maps (if available) are sent to the car from your PC. Although the bulk of the navigation will be handled with the on-board system, micro-map data can be transferred to a mobile so drivers can find their parking spot again when they’re ready to roll.
There are a few companies that are trying to get started with indoor navigation, like Micello for iPhone, and Nokia was beta testing something similar using Wi-Fi hotspots, which both still show a lot of promise. Although micro-navigation might seem like it’s inherently better-suited for indoors, BMW says they’re trying to use the same technology to incorporate lanes in navigation. It’s a pretty cool evolution of standard car navigation, and I suspect that in the long run most mobile GPS apps will need to cover structures at this scale in order to compete.
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