Sanyo's New PNDs Comparable to Car Navigation Systems

Apr 9, 2009
Naoshige Shimizu, Nikkei Electronics
Sanyo announced new models of the "Gorilla" PND.
Sanyo announced new models of the "Gorilla" PND.
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The "NV-SD730DT" is equipped with a 7-inch display.
The "NV-SD730DT" is equipped with a 7-inch display.
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It can display images from a camera.
It can display images from a camera.
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The new logo
The new logo
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The new characters
The new characters
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Sanyo Electric Co Ltd announced April 8, 2009, that it will release new models of its personal navigation device (PND), the "Gorilla," April 24, 2009. The three models are equipped with two angular velocity (gyro) sensors, one acceleration sensor and an 8-Gbyte SSD.

The accuracy in current location estimation and the detail level of map data "were improved to the levels equivalent to those of stationary and expensive car navigation systems," Sanyo said.

The three models are the "NV-SD730DT," which is mounted with a 7-inch LCD display, the "NV-SB540DT," which is equipped with a 5.2-inch display and a tuner for a real-time traffic information system (VICS: vehicle information and communication system), and the "NV-SB530DT," a 5.2-inch model that is not equipped with the tuner. There is no suggested retail price, but the three models are expected to be priced at around ¥90,000 (approx US$899), ¥70,000 and ¥65,000 respectively.

Height and horizontal movement direction are estimated by the two gyro sensors, while driving distance and speed are estimated by the acceleration sensor. As a result, "the current location can be estimated with high accuracy even when it is used, for example, under an overpass where the reception of GPS signals is poor," Sanyo said. The existing products use only GPS.

The new PNDs have two gyro sensors because it is important to detect not only travel in a horizontal direction but also travel in a vertical direction, the company said. Without the information on travel in a vertical direction, it is difficult to decide whether the carrier of the PND is on or under the overpass, it said.

Sony Corp realized a similar function for its PND, but it uses a pneumatic sensor to estimate the height.

The current location is updated every 0.5 seconds because both the calculations based on GPS information and those using gyro sensors, etc are performed at a rate of once per second and alternatively.

In addition, the capacity of Toshiba Corp's SSD mounted in the new models is 8-Gbyte SSD, twice as much as that of SSDs used in the existing models, realizing map data as detailed as that of Sanyo's stationary car navigation system. Therefore, the products are appropriate for use by pedestrians, too, the company said. The map data is provided by Zenrin Co Ltd.

When the products are used while walking, the current location is estimated without using the data from the gyro sensors and the acceleration sensor.

"When they are used while walking, the position of the chassis is fixed," Sanyo said. "So, output from the gyro sensors and the acceleration sensor are unstable, making it difficult to estimate the current location."

The determination of whether it is being used while walking depends on the state of the battery. It is determined that the PND is being used by a pedestrian if it is running on the battery.

Furthermore, the new models are equipped with a function to display rear view camera images on the navigation screen using a camera attached to the back of the vehicle. The navigation screen is switched to the camera image when the shift lever is moved to the "Rear" position. In order to use this function, a dedicated wiring kit and a vehicle camera have to be purchased and installed on the vehicle.

The new PNDs employ "ITRON" as the OS and Renesas Technology Corp's "SH-Mobile R2," which features an operating frequency of 400MHz, as the application processor.

"At this point, we don't have any plans to use Windows or Linux as the OS," Sanyo said.

The GPS module and the touch panel LCD display are manufactured by Kyocera Corp and Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co Ltd (TMD), respectively. They support 1seg digital TV broadcasts.

The NV-SD730DT, NV-SB540DT and NV-SB530DT weigh 440g, 270g and 270g, respectively, while their dimensions are 177 x 105.5 x 28mm, 139 x 86 x 24.5mm and 139 x 86 x 24.5mm. Sanyo plans to produce 5,000 units, 8,000 units and 3,000 units of them per month.

This time, the company announced a new logo and characters for the "Gorilla" brand. Sanyo's original writing style was used to create the logo so as to give a sense of unity with the company's other products.

In addition, it created a new catch phrase, "From a Navigation System for Searching to One for Enjoying." And the illustration of a "gorilla that makes people happy" was introduced as a new promotional character.