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Micro Navigation is (Almost) Here - BMW Takes You Beyond the Address

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author photo by Autotrader June 2010

If you've ever used a navigation system to guide you to an address only to be unable to find a place to park, the exact building you were looking for, or your way around once getting out of the car, BMW has an answer: microNavigation.

According to BMW, its new microNavigation technology will make it possible for enclosed destinations not found on regular maps – such as parking garages or even buildings – to become accessible to drivers. When a drive is finished, motorists can park and transfer navigation routes to cellular phones, allowing microNavigation to guide them to the correct end point – not just the correct address.

Navigation precision is BMW's goal. According to BMW Research and Technology's leader of Navigation and Data Services Robert Hein, "microNavigation gives drivers tailor-made navigation during the journey and at the destination and thereby significantly increases confidence and convenience."

According to BMW, microNavigation would look inside structures beyond the scope of conventional maps by using what BMW calls a microMap, which a driver must download before setting off on a journey. If a microMap exists for the location, it can help drivers navigate parking garages and – if detailed enough – lead to an exact destination on foot.  

According to Carlsen Isert, BMW Research and Technology's project manager for microNavigation, such a system "gives the user a clear navigation and information advantage that goes significantly beyond the conventional scope of a road navigation solution."

Another characteristic of microNavigation is its lane-specific positioning, which networks cameras, GPS coordinates, and map data to guide drivers on routes as precisely as picking the best lane of travel. The system can even guide drivers to the most convenient parking spaces based on their lane choice.

Though the system is only now in prototype, BMW is testing it in Europe on its 3-series model range. Undoubtedly, it would have a steep learning curve – but it could also erase even the slightest uncertainty about directions from the moment a driver steps into a car.

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Micro Navigation is (Almost) Here - BMW Takes You Beyond the Address - Autotrader