TomTom launches IQ satnav routes - based on your previous journey times

by Guy J Kewney | posted on 03 March 2008

Satnav specialist TomTom - has it been watching you? According to today's CeBIT announcement of IQ Routes, yes, and you said they could, too.

The idea is to build up a database of how long a journey really takes, rather than rely on estimates based on speed limits.

To get this data, TomTom had to spy on you - with your permission, the company hastens to add:

"When a TomTom user connects their device to TomTom HOME, our online platform, the first time, they are asked whether they wish to allow TomTom to collect data on their routes. The user can opt to do this, or to decline. The IQ Routes data is based on millions of routes captured in this way."
The details emerged when TomTom unveiled "ground-breaking features and unique content on its latest TomTom GO device" at CeBIT in Germany today.

The new device is the GO 930T which includes IQ Routes technology and Advanced Lane Guidance. This last feature, it says, means that "navigating difficult junctions becomes easier than ever before" with "realistic representation of highway junctions on the screen, including clear arrows indicating the lane direction" and "timely instructions to take the correct lane."

So, how does IQ routes work? Let’s take an example:

The standard shortest route from London Commercial Road, to Gloucester Terrace at a relatively quiet time, and without any hold-ups, should take you 20 minutes (screen 1)

However, that same shortest route will typically take you 29 minutes during a busier period (reality) (screen 2)

Using ‘local knowledge’ gained from the actual travel experiences of thousands of TomTom users on these very roads, IQ Routes™ instantly works out your optimal route from London Commercial Road, to Gloucester Terrace. It also calculates your realistic journey time, based on real speeds people are able to drive, not just speed limits. (screen 3)

As you can see, in this case your route is now 0.7 kilometre longer, but will save you 3 minutes .

The moral is, probably: "Don't try driving around inner London. It'll drive you nuts, and even with the best navigator you can get, the best you can hope to achieve is to save three minutes."

Well, you probably knew that already.

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