BMW PathFinder “MicroMaps” Navigation System

Looking to augment the conventional GPS navigation system with additional information not covered by GPS – such as a parking lot? BMW has announced a new PathFinder micronavigation service that offers users microMaps to augment the turn-by-turn navigation details offered on the in-car navigation system.

The new system will allow users to download information about these microMaps before they start from a place. This information can be continually updated as you approach the place. Also, BMW PathFinder will allow users to seamlessly toggle between the in-car navigation system to the micronavigation service as and when needed.

So is it out on the stores yet? The PathFinder is still a prototype and expect a few months to pass before it becomes a reality. Stay tuned and we will let you know more information when it is available.

GM OnStar eNav Integrated With Google Maps

Early this month,we had written about a partnership signed between General Motors and Google that will bring the Android Operating System to the GM’s in-car cabin tech suite. We had said that the new technology could potentially replace GM’s OnStar turn-by-turn navigation system by 2011.

Now, it appears that General Motors may want to bring more features to OnStar while the work on the Android-based cabin tech suite takes its time. The company has now announced that GM cars equipped with the OnStar turn-by-turn navigation system will now be additionally powered by Google Maps. This will enable these drivers to search for locations using Google Maps and send these directions to their turn-by-turn navigation system on their vehicle.

Nick Pudar, OnStar VP of New Business Development says,

“eNav is a perfect solution for subscribers who like the flexibility of being able to use Google Maps to plan their trips in advance, but without the hassle of bringing printed maps into the vehicle. The eNav feature of our Turn-by-Turn service allows drivers to keep their eyes, hands and minds where they need to be – on the road. And if they ever need help on the road, they can always just push the Blue OnStar Button to speak to a live advisor.”

The feature is expected to be available on all models released after 2006. You can check this video out for a preview of the latest feature

Ford ‘Send To SYNC’ To Pull Maps Info From Mobile Phones

Imagine a situation where you are on the road and your friend just texts you the location you need to drive down to. Find it difficult to read the directions from your mobile? Ford has introduced a new ‘Send to SYNC‘ feature that can pull location information from bluetooth-enabled mobile phones to provide voice-activated location directions from Google Maps on your in-car sat-nav system. This is an extension of Ford SYNC.

Doug VanDagens, the director at Ford Connected Services Solutions  Organizationsays,

“With Send to SYNC, you can map a destination at home, at work – wherever you have connectivity – and when you get to your car, it already knows where you want to go. It’s convenient and it eliminates the waste and distraction of paper maps, conserving resources while helping drivers keep their eyes on the road.”

The Ford ‘Send to SYNC’ functionality is expected to launch later this month and is the only such application available for free.

[via Gizmodo]

Toyota eLOT Mobile Application To Aid Car Purchase

Last month, Toyota filed a trademark application for ‘eLOT‘. Probing into the filing offers some interesting insights into some of the future strategies for the company. The application describes eLOT as,

“Computer application software for mobile devices, namely, software to provide information and assistance to consumers about the purchase or lease of vehicles; Downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for consumer use to provide information and assistance in the purchase or lease of vehicles”

I must confess that I do not follow the automotive segment to a great deal and subsequently I am not sure if eLOT is already out (I googled it, and could not find any relevant information). Nevertheless, the description does indicate a possible mobile app for the iPhone, Android and other platforms which will enable people to make surf through the company’s list of vehicles to purchase or lease cars.

Is it already out, people? Sound off in the comments.

General Motors In-Car Cabin Tech Suite Powered By Android

General Motors is learned to be negotiating a deal with Google to power their next generation in-car cabin tech suite with Android Operating System; much on the same lines as Microsoft Sync and MyFord systems.

This new system will allow GM car owners to pair up their automobile to their smartphone that will allow them to open, start or adjust their cars remotely. Also, the Android OS enabled system is likely to replace GM-owned OnStar turn by turn navigation system since Android is likely to bring its own free turn by turn navigation to the drivers.

An announcement of any sort in this regard is expected only around 2011.

[via MotorTrend]

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Features And Technical Specifications

The New York Auto Show saw Hyundai unveil the wraps on its new Sonata Hybrid Sedan model. This will get the popular sedan model Hyundai’s Blue Drive hybrid system thus offering better mileage and improved efficiency.

Here are some tech specs that you will need to know

  • Engine Cylinder : 2.4 liter, 4 cylinder (Atkinson cycle)
  • Power : 209 HP and 195 Pound-feet torque
  • Max Speed (at Electric only) : 62 Mph
  • Fuel Economy : 37 MPG (City) and 39 MPG (Highway)
  • Gearset : Six speed automatic transmission with electric motor
  • Batteries : Lithium Polymer

While the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid scores over other hybrid models in some aspects, there are some areas where it needs improvement. For instance, the lithium polymer batteries are a better deal than the conventional nickel metal hydride batteries that can be found on hybrids from Toyota and Ford. However the fuel economy is not as good as that offered by Toyoto Prius.

[via CNET]

Microsoft Hohm Energy Management Application For Ford Electric Vehicles

Ford has partnered with Microsoft to offer tools that will make energy management easier and affordable for owners of Ford electric cars. The Ford Focus Electric car, due to be launched next year, shall be the first electric vehicle to make use of Microsoft’s Hohm energy management application.

Speaking about this, Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Company president and CEO said,

“Ford and Microsoft both share a strong commitment to contributing to a better world. Today, we begin the next major step in our working together and leading the way for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. For Ford, this is a needed step in the development of the infrastructure that will make electric vehicles viable.”

Hohm on Ford’s Focus electric car and other upcoming models will help owners determine when and how to efficiently recharge Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) as well as Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).

[Microsoft News Center via SmartPlanet]

Nissan Leaf Electric Car US Orders Begin April 20

Those of you looking to buy Nissan’s new electric car, the Nissan Leaf may book your orders starting April 20. The car will come at a cost of $32,780 before subsidies.

As always with electric cars, there are however a lot of government sponsored incentives to expect. There is a tax credit of up to $7,500 from the government. Also, there are additional subsidies to expect from the individual state governments.

Mark Perry, the director of product planning at Nissan North America said,

“This is the price we had in mind all along. We wanted to bring out a car so that it’s affordable and priced for the mass market. So with an effective price of $25,000 (after rebates and credits), you are right in the center of the U.S. car market. In some regions, the effective price will be down around $20,000.”

[via Nissan USA]