Volkswagen's future cars could come equiped with Google Earth running on NVIDIA 3D accelerated hardware

Google is making quite a splash in the industry in the last year and it doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. According to Reuters, Google and Volkswagen are jointly developing a 3D navigation system for future VW vehicles.  The new system will be based on Google Earth and will offer drivers a 3D view of the surrounding roads. Unfortunately, the system doesn't offer real-time tracking of surrounding traffic.

The system, which was on demo at CES this year, is having its hardware developed by VW and NVIDIA. There is no detail on what kind of hardware NVIDIA is using for the system but it will offer true 3D acceleration.

Two years ago, Google purchased a company named Keyhole, which had developed the original 3D satellite imagery engine that Google Earth is based on. Unfortunately, once Google made the service available to the public, government bodies all over the world raised concerns on the system, citing that Google Earth posed a risk to national security. Vocal groups in the US were also concerned that the level of detail offered by Google Earth would allow terrorists to plan attack routes better than ever. Previous to this, Microsoft's highly acclaimed Flight Simulator series were also called out for posing a similar risk.

Although today Google's satellite service does not have detailed images of all areas of the Earth, it's only a matter of time until this is completed. Most major cities and surrounding areas, especially those in the US and Canada, are fully mapped with up to date road names. The system is also being developed to show map areas in true-to-life 3D. Currently, Google Maps features a 2D viewable image of popular global areas.

No further details were given about the system but Volkswagen says that at this moment, there aren't any solid plans on which vehicle this system will be used in, if at all.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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