Scout navigation app goes from 'on-dash' to 'in-dash'

Telenav courts automotive OEMs with the launch of Scout for Cars: Built In, an embedded vehicle navigation system.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
3 min read
Scout for Cars

Scout for Cars

Telenav's Scout navigation app is making the jump from living on your dashboard (or windshield) to living in your dashboard with today's announcement of Scout for Cars, an embedded in-dash navigation product that is being offered to automotive OEMs.

However, Scout for Cars is actually two products under one name -- Scout for Cars: Brought In and Scout for Cars: Built In.

Hands-on with Sout by TeleNav
Watch this: Hands-on with Scout by TeleNav

We got a look at the product now known as Scout for Cars: Brought In as far back as CES 2012 (video). This low or no-price option for OEMs uses the driver's smartphone running the Scout for Phones app as the brains of the navigation experience, running the show via a Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or USB connection. Rather than on the phone, however, the driver interacts with Scout on a larger dashboard screen with a simplified, lower-distraction interface, and turn-by-turn directions are heard over the vehicle's speakers.

The advantages of using the phone as the brains of the operation are that it keeps the price low for consumers, keeps your information (contacts, data connection, and so on) stored in one place, and keeps the phone stowed away in the driver's pocket. Of course, the massive Achilles' heel to the Brought In approach is that it won't work without your phone.

Scout for Cars
The Scout for Cars home screen displays shortcuts to Home and Work with drive time estimates based on real-time traffic data. Telenav

Scout for Cars: Built In is a new option from Telenav that solves that problem by building a more traditional, standalone navigation system into the dashboard with its own locally stored maps. Built In uses an interface that is familiar to Scout users, with a dashboard that shows predictive traffic estimates for Home and Work. and like the Brought In interface, Built In has been massaged for in-car use, featuring larger buttons and, in some cases, the removal of features that have been deemed distracting.

Even this standalone Built In system is capable of syncing with a paired smartphone running the Scout for Phones app to download favorites, recent trips, and other personalized information. So, it carries all of the advantages of the Brought In system with only one drawback: it will, most likely, be the more expensive option.

You can also search for destinations using the Scout for Phones app (or Scout.me Web site) before getting into the car and transfer the destination and route to the dashboard once you're in. And once you've driven to near your destination and parked, you can then transfer the destination back to the phone for pedestrian navigation. When it's time to get back to the car, you can again use the app to navigate back to your automatically GPS-marked parking spot.

In addition to navigation, Scout for Cars: Built In will also feature Local Weather, Web-connected Local Search, Real-Time Traffic, and Voice Control.

Perhaps the most interesting bit here is that Telenav is making Scout for Cars: Built In available to OEMs worldwide with the option of rebranding and redesigning the app and its companion app to match the automaker's current in-car experience, so there's a chance that by the time it reaches your dashboard in a future vehicle, you may not even recognize it.