In the Driveway by Calvin Yuen
Your Personal Navigator
“Please enter your destination”. A couple of months ago I described the various in-vehicle route guidance systems available as a new car option. After the article was published in the ShoreLine, my friend James Keh, owner of Auto Nav 2000 (www.autonav2000.com) in San Jose, contacted me. Evidently his sister, who lives in Redwood Shores, saw the article. A small world, indeed. Anyway, James rented booth space at the Moscone Car Show during Thanksgiving week, and needed assistance. As my family was away, I volunteered to help him on Thanksgiving Day. James was quite the celebrity at the show, because KPIX Evening Magazine just reported a segment on his business. I was not present the following days when the Raiderettes were signing autographs at the booth. The man sure knows how to market to the auto show crowd!
To review, Global Positioning System (GPS), uses satellites as reference points for triangulating your position somewhere on the earth. Navigation systems always know where you are, and you tell it where you want to go. Most provide route planning information and turn-by-turn route guidance via a LCD screen and voice prompt that advise drivers of approaching turns. The system calculates the best route to your destination. Now there is no way to get lost!
Don’t fret if your vehicle of choice does not offer the navigation option, because aftermarket systems are available. They are typically between $2000 to $3000, with installation $200 to $400, depending on the type of installation and vehicle. Pioneer, Blaupunkt, Visteon and VDO, to name a few, await your business. Alpine, Pioneer and Magellan are systems to be considered. Auto Nav 2000 uniquely carries all these brands, and prides itself as the only shop that solely retails and installs automotive navigation systems.
You may already know Alpine as a leader in mobile entertainment, including audio of course, and video. Within a “Mobile Multimedia” system, navigation is just an optional module controlled by its Multimedia Stations. Alpine’s new PowerNav DVD module, (NVE-N851A) ($2000), similar to one they manufacture for Honda/Acura, offers a couple of unique features. Aside from logging previous destinations, it has a planner function that lets you enter several destinations and it will plan the most efficient route. You can also input a POI destination by its phone number. PowerNav offers uninterrupted coverage of the entire continental US on one DVD disc. Alpine boasts its system is ten times faster in calculating routes than previous non-DVD systems. You have three choices of Multimedia Stations, but typically the navigation module is paired up with the CVA-1005 monitor/tuner combo ($1300), which features a remote control. The 6.5-inch display retracts back into the 1-DIN dash space when not in use.
Similar is Pioneer’s AVIC-505 Mobile Navigation Unit ($1300), which can be integrated within Pioneer's Visual Audio system. The Pioneer navigation system utilizes map CDs, with 9 map areas covering the continental US. With the AVM-P9000R A/V Entertainment Master, you can enjoy movies when coupled with the new, industry-first 6-disc DVD Changer (XDV-P9) ($1300) that plays DVD Video, CD/CDRs and even video CDs. Pioneer offers four LCD color displays. One sample is the AVXP7000 ($1300), a retractable 7” wide-screen color display with CD player. Uniquely, the system features advanced, speaker-independent voice recognition and prompts. You tell the system what you want, and it responds verbally. Pretty cool, huh.
In contrast to Alpine and Pioneer, Magellan Corporation manufactures GPS positioning, navigation solutions, as well as satellite telephony and data communications products. The 750NAV ($2400) is Magellan Driver Information System’s fifth generation navigation system. Hertz customers will continue to experience Magellan technology in their NeverLostTM program, with 50,000 units ordered.
Transportability is available only on the 750NAV. Its Docking Station lets you transport the 750NAV between vehicles with an optional install kit without the need for an additional full system. The detachable display and components are easily removed from the vehicle. For an easy installation, no splicing of speed sensor wires or backup lights are required. The 750NAV contains all available U.S. mapping data on the 3.2-gigabyte system hard disc. One coverage area is included with the initial purchase, and additional areas can be purchased with an Unlock Code from Magellan Customer Service. Also available is Off-Road Navigation, so SUV and 4-wheel drive enthusiasts can travel beyond roads, set waypoints, and route back to them – like Magellan’s hand-held navigators.
Available now is Magellan’s “750M” ($2800), essentially a 750NAV in a portable carry case, like your PC laptop, with all the accessories necessary for a traveler to quickly temporary install into any vehicle.
Readers might recall that I purchased a Magellan 750NAV unit for my wife’s minivan. With two young kids in the car, we are happy to be without the added distraction of reading and studying a paper map. I think we had “discussions” about my wife’s navigation skills even before children. With a MapQuest printout, you must still be constantly attentive for street signs, and this can be difficult at night. With the dynamic reroute feature of most navigation systems, you can automatically change routes without stopping the vehicle. Beside, how else will you hear a female voice prompt, “Your destination is on the left. You have arrived.”
Oh, you can contact James at 408-298-8188. Tell him Calvin wants an autographed photo of the Raiderettes, for my single friends of course.
Feel free to email me at CarsWriter@aol.com.
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