Garmin Distribution Africa has partnered with Altech Netstar Traffic, a subsidiary of the leading vehicle tracking company Altech Netstar, to launch a new feature for its range of automotive GPS devices called ‘Garmin Live Traffic’.
With Garmin Live Traffic, motorists will receive live updates of nearby traffic congestion and will also be offered an alternative route so that any potential traffic delays can be avoided.
The Garmin Live Traffic service is now available on Garmin’s latest nüvi 1300T, which is pre-bundled with a GTM 25 Traffic Receiver and also includes a one-year Live Traffic subscription.
In addition, Garmin Live Traffic is available for the new generation nüvi 1000 series in-car GPSs, zūmo 220 & 660 series motorcycle GPSs, and on certain older nüvi models running the latest software upgrade.
For devices other than the nüvi 1300T a Traffic subscription and a GTM Traffic Receiver are required. These can be purchased from participating Garmin retailers. Visit Garmin’s website for store location details (www.garmin.co.za).
Dr. Chris Crozier, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Garmin Distribution Africa, says that while traffic congestion is a fact of life in most major cities, by having access to constantly-updated traffic information via a Garmin GPS device, motorists can either avoid the worst of the congestion by making use of a suggested detour or, if there is a major unavoidable delay, reschedule their trip.
“Anonymous information collected every one to three minutes from thousands of vehicles fitted with tracking devices is processed by Altech Netstar Traffic and thereafter streamed via the Radio Data Service (RDS) to your Garmin traffic receiver,” he says.
“The information is then displayed directly on the screen of your Garmin GPS device, with simple icons used to indicate traffic congestion, accidents or hazardous road conditions along your route.”
Congestion on the roads is displayed by various colours on the map. A green route indicates no traffic delay, a yellow route indicates slow- moving traffic, and a red route indicates a highly congested route – one that should be avoided if possible.
If you are busy driving to a destination, information about the incident and an estimated traffic-related delay are provided on-screen, and users have the option to route around the traffic problem.
“When you opt to avoid traffic,” Crozier adds, “your Garmin will calculate a new favourable route taking traffic conditions into account.”
Users can view summarised traffic conditions and potential congestion across an entire city, in their immediate vicinity, and even for a specific road while driving with their GPS device in ‘standby’ mode.
The Live Traffic service has been in test phase for many months and will be generally available in South Africa before the end of June 2010. The launch of Garmin Live Traffic Service will initially cover Gauteng, followed quickly by Cape Town and Durban. Other major cities are currently being tested and will be available shortly.