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Auto navigation market seeks low cost solutions

Posted: 19 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automotive navigation  embedded navigation  mass market cars 

IMS Research finds that there is a huge potential for embedded navigation solution and connected navigation head units over the next eight years—the key to driving the uptake being lower costs.

An IMS Research report, 'The Future of In-Car Navigation,' highlights the key trends in the OE automotive navigation head unit market over the next eight years. First being the move towards offering embedded navigation solutions in mass market cars for under Rs.64,000 ($1,425); the report assesses how this trend will develop by region as the market matures. Second, it assesses the newly emerging market for connected navigation head units.

Until last year in Europe, factory-fitted navigation head units had primarily been a feature found in luxury vehicles, or chosen in mass-market vehicles as an expensive option. There has, understandably, been a huge demand for the much lower cost option of a portable navigation device (PND). Jack Bergquist, an analyst at IMS Research states, "With an estimated 12.8 million [1.28 crore] new PNDs sold in 2010 in Western Europe, it is clear that there is huge potential demand from motorists for a low cost solution for in-vehicle navigation." Bergquist goes on to say, "However, until mid-2009 there wasn't an embedded system widely available on the market to fill the void between $2852 [Rs.1.27 lakh] factory-fitted units and PNDs that were readily available for under $214 [Rs.9,553.57]."

The report highlights that possibly the most notable current event, in terms of unit sales of factory-fitted navigation, is an offer from Renault of an embedded navigation unit from the PND leader TomTom. This is the first mass produced, 'low cost' embedded navigation head-unit to achieve wide uptake in Europe, with an estimated 5,00,000 units sold in 2010.

Although TomTom offered one of the first low-cost navigation head units in Europe, most vehicle manufacturers have since released, or are in the process of releasing, cars in their range with a sub €1000 embedded navigation head-unit option. Examples available at the time of writing include the RNS 315 navigation head unit from Technisat and Volkswagen, and the Touch and Connect head unit from Bosch and Vauxhall/Opel.

The second key trend identified in the report is that of connected navigation head units. On this basis IMS Research estimates that in 2010, 23 lakh OE connected navigation head units were sold globally and that by 2018 these head units will account for 56 per cent of global navigation head unit sales.

Connected navigation head units, such as BMW's ConnectedDrive or Audi's MMI, offer services such as Google search, live POI search, and detailed traffic information. With the release of TomTom LIVE in Renault vehicles and the eCall initiative gaining traction in Europe, it is expected that many new services will start to become available in both luxury and mass market vehicles.

The key to driving this uptake in Western Europe is likely to be price. Previous attempts to offer connected services in the region had limited success. The industry is very sensitive to this issue and all companies involved in this field are working on an array of business models to find a solution to the European attitude towards paying for these services.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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