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Sat Nav Developments

Satellite navigation is an industry going through some major changes and as we see thousands of cars a day and often receive feedback from our customers on the latest car-related technology, we have compiled a brief overview of the current state of play for digital mapping in cars.

Stand-alone Sat Nav Units

The industry leader Tom Tom has reported falling sales for several years in row and last October John Lewis stopped stocking these devices in their stores. You can still buy them online but with many new cars having the mapping function built-in and a host of apps available for your smartphone, there is a shrinking demand for what used to be considered the top auto accessory.

Sat Nav Smartphone Apps

There are several apps available for your smartphone to replace your sat nav device, some of them available with features such as real-time traffic updates and local points-of-interest which used to be only found in the most expensive sat nav stand-alone units. If you are want an independent assessment of some of the app available, have a look at this article from Autotrader.

Driving Test

The driving test has been changed to reflect the digital age and recognises that sat nav in cars has become commonplace. From last December, learner drivers will be expected to follow directions from a sat nav – or they could fail their driving test. And the test will take in more busy, high-risk roads, in favour of quiet, low-risk roads. The sat nav will be provided by the examiner and they will set the route: apparently there are no penalties for taking a wrong turn! The Government website has more information here.

In-car Developments

A built-in sat nav will often be an optional extra chosen by the first owner of a new car, but increasingly they come as standard – all new BMWs now come with a built-in sat nav, for example. They are generally installed in your car as part of the centre console, and are difficult and sometimes impossible to retrofit. Built-in sat navs are generally controlled via traditional dashboard buttons or a touchscreen. It is worth noting that whilst the difference between car manufacturers’ own navigation systems can range from really good to incomprehensible (as Jeremy Clarkson has often demonstrated) there is a trend for car makers to offer compatibility with phone manufacturers allowing drivers to bring their own navigation with them. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are designed to work with all types of vehicle.

Luckily airports seem to be well covered in all navigation systems but if you are concerned about your route please give our team a call before you leave and we can help. If you have booked with us, then we ask you to call when you are ten minutes away and, if necessary, we can give precise instructions for getting to the forecourt.


By Sarah Anglim at 29 Mar 2018

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