is reporting that Honda will offer Google Earth Satellite mapping
for its InterNavi Premium Club service. As of this writing, the
Google Earth portion of the service will only be available to
Japanese-market Honda Civics.
Honda's Floating Car Data system, which
provides a basis for the advanced navigation sytem, has been in place
in Japan since September of 2003. Real-time information including
traffic jams and accidents is updated on the vehicle's navigational
display. Edmunds adds:
In keeping with the high-style Japanese
culture, Honda's system displays traffic information in three colors:
blue for smooth traffic, orange for busy and red for congested. The
initial service area only extends to 15 miles around the major cities
of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, but Honda says it will soon extend
coverage throughout Japan.
North American customers forking over
enough money for an Acura RL have already encountered a similar
system called AcuraLink (minus the Google Earth mapping). AcuraLink
works in conjunction with XM Satellite Radio satellites to provide
real-time traffic updates in 20 major metropolitan areas including
Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Chicago.
There is no word on when the
Google-enhanced system will be available (if at all) in the United
States, but it's likely that we see it first on Acura models with it
later filtering down to the rest of the Honda lineup. Volkswagen
is also working on a similar system with the help of NVIDIA.