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Reporters' Roundtable: Where is navigation going?

Navigation? That's not enough for today's drivers. They now demand traffic-aware routing. Inrix CTO Craig Chapman and Waze VP Di-Ann Eisnor discuss the state of the art in automotive nav.

Today we're talking about car navigation. Of course, when navigation units first came out, they were seen by users as magical. But how quickly we've become accustomed to having a device in the car that can tell us how to get where we're going. Now people want to know how to get there faster than everyone else--and that means getting traffic data into our navigation systems. We're going to talk about the state of the art in car navigation, and how traffic data is becoming a bigger part of it. In particular, we're going to dive into the interesting conceptual battle between sensor-based traffic reporting and crowd-sourced traffic.

We have two great guests today. Di-Ann Eisnor runs U.S. operations and is working on the "live mapping" function for Israeli crowd-sourced navigation and real-time traffic start-up Waze. Di-Ann is a neogeography pioneer and serial entrepreneur. Prior to Waze, she started Platial, the world's first social atlas.

Craig Chapman is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Inrix, a major provider of traffic information, directions and driver services. He was previously development manager for the automotive business unit at Microsoft.

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Some of our discussion points

Normally I don't do this, but I'd like each of you to give a quick pitch on your company, so we know your perspective for this conversation. First, Craig of Inrix. Then Di-Ann of Waze.

Let's talk about routing. How does it work?

How is traffic data collected? Sensors vs. probes. Waze is trying to compete with Google in the probes dept., and Google uses its army of Android phones to get data. How do you possibly compete?

Google's place in traffic data collection.

How do you avoid routing outcomes that just shift the locations of traffic jams?

Let's compare benefits of car nav devices: built-in systems, GPS dash-top devices, and smartphones.

Discuss safety/distraction

Discuss vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, e.g., smart stoplights.

Is "game-ification" part of the picture for traffic data collection?

The next frontier: parking?

Before we get self-driving cars, will we have cars that use route info to pre-load brakes, set suspension, tug the wheel toward an exit, etc.?

Viewer questions:
Brian: In Waze, How long after a piece of information is acquired before the system "resets" the info for that road?

Lisa: Why haven't GPS systems tied in with couponing, and LBS?

CurtisB: What policies do they have in place for privacy, given current phones' abilities to report their location (and even IDs, etc.)? Can emergency responders (police, ambulance, etc.) request data from them if requested?

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