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Olaf Meng is the Senior Product Manager for Traffic Solutions at Garmin, and is responsible for looking after all things traffic-related, along with working alongside external partners like HERE. We’ve been talking to Olaf to find out more about new traffic features across a host of different devices.
“Garmin is implementing new traffic services across all of its devices, including PNDs, which are a huge part of our business, as well as OEM solutions with our automotive partners, and we’re also developing a very successful smartphone app,” says Olaf. “We are using the services provided by HERE with regards to traffic, which started with RDS -TMC technology and LIVE services later, and we’re now working on DAB traffic announcements in the countries it’s available.”
The latest traffic features from HERE span three different areas: Traffic Safety Warnings, Predictive Traffic and Split-Lane Traffic Reporting at Junctions. Traffic Safety warnings can prompt drivers to slow down in anticipation of a quickly building traffic jam ahead, giving drivers a heads-up before they actually see any congestion. The temporary jam can be identified by the sudden deceleration of vehicles recently travelling at high rates of speed to near stationary conditions, and it’s considered a dangerous driving condition as it may quickly come upon a driver without the typical advanced indications.
Predictive Traffic can help in planning journeys up to 12 hours in advance, and it accurately estimates how long it will take by factoring in real-time traffic, historical traffic flow data and other factors like average seasonal conditions and holidays. It's perfect when journeys are time-critical, and offers accurate coverage in the available countries and anticipates future traffic conditions by considering over 100 different behavior profiles and analyzing over one trillion GPS data points.
Meanwhile, Split-Lane Traffic Reporting at Junctions provides lane-level precision on highways and ramps where there is a major discrepancy in speeds between the lanes, as opposed to calculating all the lanes together for one averaged speed. This feature provides enhanced display options, alerting capabilities and more accurate travel time calculations.
Additional traffic functionality will be ideal for the next ranges of personal navigation devices from Garmin, Olaf explains: “We recently launched our new Garmin Drive Series, where we are proud to bring enhanced driver awareness features to the end customer including traffic-based alerts – and the development will not stop."
“We have several categories in our new Drive Series: Garmin Drive, our essential line, Garmin Smart, which is the advanced series capable of displaying notifications from your smartphone, and Drive Assist, a product line where we can incorporate further solutions to notify the driver of severe traffic situations, as well as using cameras for forward collision or lane departure notifications. We’re trying to implement a seamless integration between these kind of features and traffic services.”
The latest traffic updates offered by HERE are part of a partnership that stretches back over a decade, and Olaf adds: “HERE is the most important partner for map and traffic for Garmin on a worldwide perspective. We have a long-term relationship covering more than the last ten years, and the quality of coverage and anything that is important for a high-end traffic service - like refresh rates, accuracy and reliability - is outstanding with HERE."
“The ease of use, the information, and the availability of services via the internet - this is what drives Garmin. Some of the latest updates have already been introduced in the first months of this year, the new devices are being launched – and some new features we’re working on with HERE will be revealed in the future.”
It’s a partnership that will only improve, too, with Olaf pointing out: “HERE offers traffic information for 58 countries and Garmin is working together with HERE in most of them. We’re working on implementing new traffic services and making new content available where it’s not been seen so far. We’re now moving to a strong traffic service on all roads categories, from highways, over rural areas as well as inner cities.”