September 4, 2007 BMW has announced it’s enriching its ConnectedDrive in-car navigation system with a direct hookup to Google's Local Search. The console on your Beemer will soon be a virtual Yellow Pages that lets you search for businesses, restaurants and places of interest, then select one and have it automatically entered into your GPS nav system as a destination.
BMW owners with the company’s ConnectedDrive system have for a while been able to send locations directly from Google Maps to their car’s navigation system, as shown in this video. Now, BMW has teamed up with Google to build a Google Local Search right in to the car’s SatNav system. Drivers can now search for service stations, restaurants and a range of other local businesses directly through their car’s control console.
We’re not convinced that drivers need any more nifty toys to distract them on the road, but there’s no doubt that this is a clever and natural extension of the abilities of satellite navigation, and the coming together of two very complementary technologies. Google Maps was originally an ambitious project for the company, but this move shows a clear glimpse of the massive database’s potential to be a ubiquitous central resource in our connected lives even away from our desktops.
Users simply scroll through lists of available business types, using the car’s GPS system as a virtual Yellow Pages to find the type of business they want. A list of specific businesses is then returned, and once one is selected, it becomes the destination for the car’s guidance system and the car is able to give the driver directions to the door.
The system is currently only available in Germany, but will surely roll out into other countries shortly.