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Guide your car - by satellite

M. Rajeev

SatNav Technologies creates software for six cities



SHUBH YATRA: SatNav's SatGuide software for cars.

HYDERABAD: Caught in a traffic jam and unable to wriggle out of the maddening crowd to reach your destination in time? The Hyderabad-based SatNav Technologies, a leading provider of navigation software, has a solution that will help you plan your journey in advance. The company has developed SatGuide, a navigation and mapping software that helps users to take a detour or helps in re-routing to avoid the jams. The solution has detailed maps of several cities as well as an all-India road network map. And it is targeted at lay users of Pocket PCs and Personal Digital Assistants such as I-mate and O2. The company presently offers maps for six cities — Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad — and it plans to complete mapping of 24 cities by the year-end.

The basic navigation software for any one city costs around Rs. 4,000, but one can buy additional city packages for Rs. 990 each. Users who have installed the software to work with a GPS (global positioning system, powered by a network of 24 satellites) device, have to enter the address as the first input prior to starting. SatGuide will then suggest the best possible route on a map displayed on the screen of Pocket PC and prompts the driving user through voice commands regarding directions to reach the destination.

SatGuide calculates the users' position dynamically and plots it on a map giving an accurate location of the vehicle. The system is built with a database of 24 categories of points of interest such as hotels, airport, shopping malls and businesses that will help the user to reach the closest destination in the shortest possible route. Stand-alone GPS receivers are available in India, at prices starting from Rs. 6,000, according to SatNav managing director Amit Kishore Prasad.

iSuppli predicts that the automotive navigation market is set to treble by 2012, from the nearly 20 million units shipped in 2006. Stiff customs duties in India levied on GPS devices make these brands such as Garmin, Mitac and Navman much costlier.

But SatNav's software will work with many devices, which increasingly come with built-in GPS capability, and run the Windows Mobile operating system.

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