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In Car Navigation to Get Cheaper, Easier

Boot Camp feature for Monday, May 6, 2002

You may never stop to ask for directions again. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The latest in car navigation systems on the market are pretty impressive and getting better all of the time. Navigation Technologies, a privately held company, provides the data available in many high end cars. The problem has been price. Navigation systems typically add about two thousand dollars to the sticker price. But NavTech's VP of technology and development, Austin Klahn tells us that should change in the not too distant future... .

"People are working very hard to break the thousand dollar and five hundred dollar barrier. And there are some very good studies that have been done that show once you get below a thousand dollars into the five hundred dollar range... .90 percent of the people buying new cars would buy one with a nav system."

The DVD based database in the system can get you to just about any street address... restaurant, hotel, shopping center or park. But you have to type your destination in on a touch screen. Klahn says voice based systems are probably a few years away and should be a lot more practical. And the concept could turn into an advertising bonanza as well...

"In fact, we're talking about the software system being able to locally keep track of the kind of things that the consumer likes to do and notifying them... you know what, you like stopping at the Baskin Robbins, you do it often and to be able to say, you know there's a Baskin Robbins up here in a half a mile."

Whether that's a change for the better, I'm not so sure. Your car will be able to tell you when its hungry too... and which service stations are nearby. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin