Live drive-by GPS updates

Telecom Asia Staff
02 Mar 2009

Wireless Horizon reported last year that Japanese vendor Oki Electric Industry was working on wireless technology that would allow GPS navigation systems to detect nearby pedestrians. The same technology is now set to be deployed as a navigation system for rental cars that relays location-based info to tourists on the fly as they drive through select areas.

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) tapped Oki in January to build the so-called ISLAND (Integrated Spot Local Assistance & News Delivery) System for tourist drivers in Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture, based on Oki's proprietary DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) wireless technology.

DSRC leverages 5.8-GHz roadside repeaters to create a safety network that alerts drivers when nearby pedestrians are crossing the road (provided they're carrying DSRC-compatible terminals).

The same repeaters can also be used to relay info such as traffic updates and location-based concierge services to the GPS navigation dashboard as the car drives past, Oki says.

More interestingly, the repeaters are not networked together. The units update themselves by downloading on-board navigation data each passing car's GPS unit has been gathering.

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