Car Navigation System Uses iPhone to Guide Users to Their Cars

Jun 8, 2011
Naoshige Shimizu, Nikkei Automotive Technology
Fujitsu Ten's "AVN-F01i"
Fujitsu Ten's "AVN-F01i"
[Click to enlarge image]
The Doco Car application guides the user to the place where the user's car is parked.
The Doco Car application guides the user to the place where the user's car is parked.
[Click to enlarge image]
The TwitDrive application allows its users to share tweets.
The TwitDrive application allows its users to share tweets.
[Click to enlarge image]

Fujitsu Ten Ltd will release a car navigation system that uses an SD memory card and works together with the iPhone.

With applications that the company has developed for the iPhone, the system, "AVN-F01i," realizes various functions such as to guide the user to the place where the user's car is parked and to share information among users.

Fujitsu Ten plans to release the AVN-F01i in early July 2011 in Japan. Though there is no manufacturer's suggested retail price, its price is expected to be about ¥90,000 (approx US$1,121). No fee is charged for the applications. The company aims to sell 1,000 units per month.

This time, Fujitsu Ten developed three applications: (1) "Doco Car (Where Car)," which uses an augmented reality (AR) technology that superimposes an image of, for example, an arrow on the image taken by the iPhone's camera to guide the user to the place where the user's car is parked, (2) "TwitDrive," which allows its users to share their tweets and (3) "Car News Reader," which reads out news headlines.

"We conducted a research on user needs and selected three functions that seem to be highly demanded by users," Fujitsu Ten said. "And we are considering offering other applications, too."

The three applications can be used by downloading them to the iPhone and connecting the iPhone to the car navigation system with a dedicated cable.

Doco Car

Doco Car was developed to prevent the user from getting lost in search of the user's car in a large parking lot such as of an amusement park or a rest area on a highway. When the car is pulled over and the iPhone is disconnected from the car navigation system, the application is automatically launched.

By using the iPhone's function to estimate the current location and memorizing the location where the car is parked, an arrow guiding to the parked car and the distance to the car are superimposed on the image taken by the iPhone's camera when the user wants to go back to the car. In case the iPhone cannot estimate the current location, it suggests that the user should take pictures of the scenery around the vehicle with the camera.

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