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PNDs Will Offer Photo Realism

New York — One of the next technology upgrades for personal navigation devices (PNDs) will be photo-realistic, 3-D graphic displays that have the capability to offer full street-level realism, according to ABI Research.

By 2012, 80 percent of PNDs in North America will offer some form of photo realistic display as will 90 to 95 percent of PNDs in Europe. Asia will lead the pack reaching 100 percent capability by 2011.

The most advanced of the photo realistic displays would look similar to Google Earth, showing realistic street views with the ability to zoom in and out for panoramic views, said Michael Ippoliti, telematics and automotive research director. Eventually, map providers such as Navteq and Tele Atlas will offer the raw data for this feature, he said.

“The next enhancements to appear in personal navigation systems will be 3-D and photorealistic graphic displays,” said an ABI spokesman. 

ABI explained that not every device will feature full street-level realism, but as more PNDs become connected to the Internet, such as the upcoming Dash Express, they will enable this capability.

“Automotive manufacturers offering built-in navigation are steering away from 3-D/photorealism,” says Ippoliti, “because all that glorious detail could distract drivers. For the most part, while driving, ‘less is more’ — what you want is a simplified interface, except perhaps at a difficult downtown intersection where a view of prominent landmarks could help negotiate a path through.”

PNDs may offer the service, however, as they may be used by the car’s passengers, he said.