Autmobile Navigation Systems

As previously stated, Audi is not currently offering their navigation system in North America. It is thought that the basic system will be a standard feature on the 2000 S4 when it arrives in the fall, although this has not been confirmed. And while the '99.5 A4's in Europe were the benificiary of this option, the updated A4's in North America are not likely to see it until the 2000 model as well.

The utility of this product was clearly shown during our visit to Germany. This is a system that would be used and appreciated in the United States and Canada. When we asked Audi why it wasn't being brought here sooner one of their responses was that North America had not been properly mapped yet to work with the system. We presume that this process is ongoing.

Other luxury car manufuacturers have already started offering this option in North America. The following is a preview of which North American cars include navigation systems today. Hopefully Audi realizes the demand for this product and will meet it's competitors head-on.

Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ - The Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ uses information from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and its own inertial navigation system to precisely pinpoint the vehicle's location. It can guide you to a selected destination by means of a visual cues on the 6-inch screen and audio alert such as "Exit at next turn" or "Keep right," to minimize distraction to the driver. The system can guide you to local restaurants or points of interest based on inputting the destination's phone number. Geographic information is stored in the on-board database and is updated annually at no charge for the first two years of ownership. After the third year, the owner pays a minimal charge for updates. This feature is available in the Acura TL.

Mercedes-Benz COMAND (Cockpit Management and Data System) - COMAND is navigational system, clock, TV set, car radio and cassette player all in one. A CD changer, a Bose sound system and LINGUATRONIC can be added if desired. The versatile system is housed in the middle console where normally the car radio and storage compartment would go. At the core of the system is a 12-centimeter colour display. A 32-bit processor hidden behind the screen steers all functions, manages the programs and is capable of transmitting video or TV pictures to the screen. The navigational computer of the dynamic Auto Pilot System (DynAPS) is also integrated into the central control panel. The driver can also summon individual COMAND instructions using the multi-function steering wheel of the new S-class. They then appear both on the colour display in the center console and on the central display of the instrument cluster so that the driver always has them in view. Available on the S-Class.

BMW On-Board Navigation System - The BMW On-Board Navigation System uses signals from up to eight navigation satellites, a gyroscope built into the computer, and vehicle speed transmitted from the front ABS wheel sensors. By combining the positioning data with a map database supplied by a CD-ROM, the system literally puts you on the map and shows you how to get where you want to go. You control the GPS Navigation System through the on-board monitor, the easy-to-use color display for controlling the car's communication and information systems. The map database comes from a CD-ROM player housed in the trunk. All of the U.S. is charted and covered with seven discs. The maps allow selectable scales of view and precise detail. The GPS Navigation System gives you advance visual and verbal cues to help you follow your route. It's simple, clear and re-calculates a new route should you miss a turn. Available in the 7-series for sure, but possibly in 3 & 5-series soon as well.

Lexus Navigation System - The Lexus Navigation System is designed to assist in locating an address or point of interest. Discrepancies may be encountered between the system and your actual location. Changes in street names, road closures, traffic flow or other road system changes may affect the accuracy of the mapping software. Rely upon your common sense to decide whether or not to follow a specified route. This feature is available in the Lexus GS400/300 and the LS400.  



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