Is Here a real advance?


Back in the good old days when Nokia was a cool brand, it came up with a connected vehicle solution which it proudly called the Nokia Here. Now the brand has lost its appeal and smartphone sales are in decline, the product continues to develop but it’s just called Here.
It was launched in 2013, and competes with Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay. However, after more than a year in the market, the motor manufacturers seem to be voting with their feet. The display of new vehicles at the Paris Auto Show sees an increasingly sophisticated product appearing in more makes and models. The claimed advantages are that:

• the system learns how and where you drive;
• because of this, it “thinks” ahead of you, i.e. it annoys you by trying to guess what you want to do or where you want to go;
• it interworks with a range of other devices and applications; and
• insofar as this is possible, presents the driver with information in the least distracting way possible.

As an example, let’s suppose you want to plan how to get to a particular destination. There are a number of different ways in which you can input the desired destination, e.g. through the dash console, your smartphone, or a tablet. Each destination is stored as a favorite until you delete it. The smart system then offers a choice of routes and provides you a street view of your destination. The first will be the route which uses the least amount of fuel. The onboard system monitors your gas consumption on the different types of road and calculates the most efficient route. If it knows you will have to buy more gas on the way, it highlights where you can buy gas and, depending on your location and the information available, the prices per gallon at each station.

There will be optimized routes to avoid roadworks or other hazards likely to slow you down. Once you decide which way you want to go, adding in diversions if you want to take in the local scenery or make a pitstop somewhere, the chosen route appears on the console — information from the local tourist sites is available to suggest places you might like to visit. If you have allowed the system to talk with other devices, anyone else in the vehicle can search for interesting places to visit on the way.

Once you set off, the GPS system monitors where you are and alerts you if you divert from the route. As you come closer to the destination, the display switches from a roadmap graphic to a street-level view of the landmarks to look out for. If you need help, Here can search for a parking space, and send an SMS to the people you have nominated to tell them you are arriving. Should you later forget where you parked, the vehicle can send you directions on how to find it again. How cool is that?

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