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Previewed - Dash Express
Posté le 15 août 2007 à 00:59:11 par gpspassion.

WiFi - GPRS - SiRFIII - User Reports - Yahoo Local


"Dash Express is the smartest, most Internet-connected navigation system on the road. In fact, it's the first and only automotive navigation system with two-way connectivity. Which means it gets you where you want to go—in the fastest time possible—and delivers the most relevant information—right to your dashboard. Plus, Dash Express is the only device on the market that automatically and wirelessly updates its maps and software, so all you have to do is drive.

With Dash Express you can:

Select from up to 3 routes for any destination based on accurate travel time forecasts with Network Traffic
Find any place—nearby or near your destination—with Destination Search
Send an address from any computer to your car with Send to Car"



MEETING WITH DASH IN SUNNYVALE


The new Dash offices off of 237 in Sunnyvale

I met with Dash at their new offices off of 237 in Sunnyvale at the end of July. They had brought one of the "Dash Express" (DE) beta units in the meeting so that was a good opportunity to get up to speed on what they do and on how the device works. Very interesting concept overall and nothing like what's currently on the market.

Here is a summary of my notes:
  1. The Beta test : There are currently 2000 devices being tested across the US after some initial testing in the SF Bay Area over the past two years. You certainly can't beat large scale beta testing to iron out the bugs and have a robust product upon launch.


  2. The "Dash Express" device : the current device is a prototype that runs on Linux, uses a SiRFstarIII chipset and has both GSM and WiFi connectivity. It is indeed a lot thicker than products currently on the market, but that will likely change when it ships and once it's placed in the car I don't see it as being much of a problem. The bulk could be due to the high gain WiFi antenna it harbors, a remnant of the original "car to car" communication that Dash was looking into when they got started.


  3. Hybrid navigation : the DE is a hybrid device in the sense that it has all it needs onboard for standard standalone GPS guidance, i.e. maps (by Teleatlas), a POI database, a routing engine, traffic history, with the connectivity to the network (via GSM/GPRS or WiFi) being used to download and upload live traffic data from/to the server as well as perform searches on Yahoo Local, more on that later.

    Unlike phone systems by TeleNav and Garmin Mobile in the US or Webraska in Europe, navigation is not dependent on network coverage, a good thing since a temporary blackout can never be ruled out as I've found on occasion.


  4. The Traffic Data : the traffic data is compiled on the Dash servers using several sources, such as Inrix (live and historic data), and the unique live data reported by the DE units on the road over GPRS. This reporting is transparent to the end user. I asked what happened if a DE user was halted for reasons unrelated to traffic (a flat tire for instance) and they have some checks and balances in the system to filter out that type of data, which they say are infrequent.

    To use the data reported by the DE units on the road, Dash have devised their own "traffic overlays" to go above and beyond what is offered by the TMC location tables.


  5. Choosing a route : when you plan a route you will see a preview of the suggested route with the traffic flow shown in various colors, red, yellow, green and white (if no info available). The mileage and time estimate is shown in a box on the right. After a few seconds up to two more routes will be shown and clicking on their box will preview the route with the same color code.

    I think that this presentation is an excellent way to help the user relate to the road ahead and help make a quick and informed decision.

    A further enhancement would be to allow users to run scenarios using the historic data as what Netropa are now doing on the Intellinav v3 AIO (see forum topic). Say you want to be in Roseville at 6pm on a Friday evening, at what time do you need to leave from Palo Alto. Or if you leave at 3pm, at what time will you get there.


  6. Connected services - Yahoo Search Local - Dynamic POIs : taking advantage of the seamless connection to the network, Dash have included a menu option for "Yahoo Search Local" (try it here. Just type what you are looking for, select where you want to search for it, current position, destination or other city and it will pull up the relevant results, with the address, the phone number and clicking on it will guide you there, very much like for a static POI...except that the data is dynamic. Can't find the brand new Whole Foods store in Los Altos in your GPS system with the latest 6 or 12 million premium POIs ? With the DE you can !

    Another neat feature is that you can log into the mydash website, look up an address and then send it to the DE.


  7. Various : software updates can already be performed OTA (over the air) and they are looking into doing OTA map updates as well. The current software does not have waypoint management, not that I think this is a crucial feature for point to point navigation.


  8. ETA to Market and Pricing : Dash are looking at finalizing the beta testing over the next two months for a release to market in 2007. The pricing hasn't been finalized at this stage but it is estimated in the $500/$600 price range with a prepaid subscription for several months. The monthly subscription could be in the $15 range, including access to the GSM network and online services (traffic data and yahoo local search). We'll have to wait to see how the shipping unit performs, but this certainly seems reasonable.

The mount as seen in most cars on the parking lot ;-)

If you have questions or comments, you can use this thread of the "Traffic" Forums.

 
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