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Finally safe driving with augmented reality navigation, Wikitude Drive.

December 27, 2010

Congratulations to Andy Gstoll, Andi Hauser and Martin Herdina for launching Wikitude Drive! As you probably know we are augmented reality fanatics so every new product or service that comes to market we have to see for ourselves! Well… it’s not a big secret that Wikitude has been working on Wikitude Drive and so we are very happy that they have launched it in the Android market. Now we just hope that Amsterdam is on their roadmap ;).

Wikitude drive is the worlds first fully functional mobile AR navigation system with global coverage (for Android 2.1 and above). It is a light weight turn-by-turn navigation system that uses Augmented Reality. Wikitude Drive launched in Austria, Germany and Switzerland!! All other countries, please stay tuned!

The system works by attaching your mobile phone on top of your dash board looking at the road. The application then overlays video captured through the camera with driving instructions. This allows users to literally drive through their phone, watching the road even while they are looking at directions.

Wikitude Drive distinguishes itself from other navigation systems in two ways: First, due to the overlaying of the route onto the live video stream of the surroundings, the driver can easily recognize and follow the suggested route. Instead of looking at an abstract map you are looking at the real world. The navigation system leads the driver through unfamiliar territory in a natural, real and easy way.

Secondly, Wikitude Drive solves a key problem that all other navigation systems have. These systems require the driver to take his eyes off the road in order to look at the abstract navigation map. Just by looking at the map screen for one second when driving at 100 km/h (62 mph), the driver is actually “blind” for 28 meters (92 ft). Think about how much can happen in those precious meters. Since Wikitude Drive provides you with driving directions on top of the live video stream, you still see what is happening in front of you when looking at the display of your mobile AR navigation system.

In some driving conditions however, for example when driving in the dark, a traditional map is in fact advantageous. With just one tap on the cell phone’s touch screen, you can switch between the Augmented Reality view and the traditional 3D map-view. To give you additional navigational directions, voice commands are provided as well.

Navigational data comes from Navteq, a global supplier of mapping and routing information. A future version of Wikitude Drive will integrate with Wikitude World Browser to offer millions of Points of Interests to leverage the full power of the Internet and user generated content.

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