Two new Blaupunkt navigation systems, the TravelPilot 500 and 700, will feature interactive voice controls, Bluetooth, and, in the case of the 700, Internet access. A lot of GPS devices offer these features, but the TravelPilot units have a few tricks we've never seen before: real-time video navigation and traffic sign recognition. We've got video of the system in action below.
Using an integrated video camera on the back of the device, the TravelPilot units capture live footage of the road ahead. At first, we thought this was a bit redundant, showing the driver what's clearly visible out of the windshield. However, this means that in addition to potentially simplifying navigation by superimposing the navigation instructions over imagery of the actual intersection, drivers can, indirectly, keep their eyes on the road even while looking at their nav unit.
Traffic sign recognitions works using the same camera that powers the video overlay. The navigation unit's computer is able to discern roadside signs, for example, the speed limit. Then using GPS information, it can calculate the vehicle's speed and the TravelPilot can warn the driver if he's exceeding the speed limit. Garmin and TomTom both have devices that can warn speeding drivers, but the devices rely on a database that doesn't cover all roads.
The TravelPilot 500 and 700 will be available next month and priced about 400-500 euros ($490-$740).