Once upon a time, we depended on passersby to seek direction while trying to reach to any ‘not-so-known’ destination. While driving our car to reach to any hotel or any city and sometimes even while visiting our friends and relatives, there was no choice but to stop at the various corner to ask for directions.
Then the new era arrives! Now we speak to our buddy sitting next to us in the car and say, ‘Hey, check the GPS and see whether we are going in the right direction? Just type the destination location and let’s follow the route.’
Such technological innovation has changed the way we have been navigating since past few years. There is so much of ease and comfort with lesser dependency, and this is slowly ending up as a habit.
For people who are unaware of the origin of Global Positioning System (GPS), here’s a short and simple version: ‘GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that was originally designed to assist soldiers and military vehicles and maintained by the United States.’ Later, it has been offered to the general public as a service to navigate their way.
Google is a global leader in the navigation industry and consistently keeps making efforts to improve its navigation services. This week, Google has also introduced another positioning feature to keep track of your loved ones while they are on road. This feature is known as ‘Stay Safe’ helps in tracking the live status of family members travelling in cabs; it also alerts the family if the cab goes off-route by 0.5 km.
As Google leads the market, people are hardly aware of other GPS providers like MapQuest, Maps. Me, MapFactor, etc. Google has been dominating this space through its extensive offerings of Google Maps. However, there are also some big regional providers like GLONASS (Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema) in Russia and Beidou in China who are prominent names in the industry of those specific countries.
Now the question is why we still experience incorrect directions occasionally while using GPS. You may have heard many stories stating GPS routes ended into lakes, ponds or closed roads! One of the reasons for such cases is the satellite signals which are not 100% accurate and may not determine your precise location. Another reason accounts to out-dated maps as digital maps providers may not have been updated for road closures or diversions. In fact, a study by the Navigations Systems Research Foundation shows how some vital updates are overlooked by GPS like the quality or the types of roads. Moreover, bad satellite signals along with signal interference add to the common glitches.
In an endeavor to provide better extensive coverage with updated information to its users, all these navigation service providers are working hard to bring in new tech advancements in the world of navigation. One such technology that’s being experimented is the Visual Positioning System (VPS).
This new visual system is envisaged for Google Maps wherein with greater accuracy, the VPS will use the phone’s camera along with Google’s extensive back-end data to analyze the route. It will allow the camera to detect current location based on nearby shops, signboards, etc. and then will suggest the navigation path for the journey. VPS is predicted to be far more accurate than the Global Positioning System (GPS) and is designed to overcome the challenge of GPS. This technology is useful in urban areas where GPS is often blocked by skyscrapers.
In fact, the Vision Positioning Systems Market is valued at USD 5.35 billion in 2018 and expected to reach USD 10.47 billion by 2025 with the CAGR of 10.07% over the forecast period. There are multiple companies investing in this technology. Scape Technologies raised $8 million in seed funding for further development of its “Visual Positioning Service.” Fly Ventures, LocalGlobe and Mosaic Ventures with funding backed by Entrepreneur First, is also working to bring artificial intelligence (AI) to camera devices so that they can recognize their surroundings.
With these technological advancements, the service offerings are expected to be more virtual, augmented and customized for each consumer. And we are curious to see what all will the future unfold for us in the world of a new navigation tech industry.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.