Internet powerhouse Google and automobile manufacturer Volkswagen have announced a partnership in which Google will work with the American division of the German car maker to create a new generation navigation system. Using the satellite mapping software developed by Google as a starting point, the system will, according to sources at Google, provide drivers with a bird’s eye real-time view of the road ahead.
Also involved in the program is computer graphics maker Nvidia Corporation. Known for its high-speed rendering graphics engines, and used by both PC manufacturers and Apple Computer, Nvidia may be able to deliver a product that allows data from a satellite to update fast enough to keep a NAV system’s display from bogging down, notably when a driver is moving faster than 25 or 30 miles-per-hour.
Although VW is quick to state that no definitive plans have been secured for the Google-based NAV system to be included in any specific vehicle, it is a promising step. Many consumers feel that current generation NAV systems are slow, awkward to use, and use data that is two or three years old. The partnership is also a clear demonstration that Google is eager to expand outside of the traditional “Internet” environment.