Currently in the 21st century, navigation systems are just one small part of technologically advanced vehicles but when we look forward to the future, it is highly likely that it will not be too long before vehicles could well be navigating themselves. In fact, driverless vehicles are already here – which, by definition, surely means a courier will not take an active part in route planning soon.
However, we still have a fair old way to go. Until then, we need to use the technology which is available. For the moment the Satellite Navigation system is still king. So how has navigation methods changed over the last thirty years and what can a courier expect from future navigation systems?
Extraordinary Navigation Systems
Now, thanks to the many benefits of contemporary Sat Nav’s, you cannot only find the fastest or shortest route, you can also be alerted to accidents, roadworks and traffic jams; find out where the nearest petrol station or eating house is and be treated to a highly accurate ETA. All at the touch of a button. But it hasn’t always been this way – let’s take a look at how navigation has evolved.
How A Courier Navigated Using Maps
It’s hard to believe now that we ever coped with maps – they were so awkward, difficult to use in conjunction with driving (a courier would often need an assistant navigator) and could be deemed dangerous when used by the driver alone.
If you were unfortunate enough to be trying to manhandle a large paper map, then the struggles will be clear in your mind. First you had to pinpoint your route using grid references, you had to fold the map to an accessible size and you had to be able to refer to it without taking your eyes off the road (if you were a courier without an assistant). However, we still valued the detailed information contained in a map as before the 1990’s and GPS (global positioning satellites), that is all we had. A map book was often easier to deal with as you only needed to find the route in the index. So long as you didn’t have to turn any pages while driving…
The Advent Of The GPS For The Courier
GPS is the core technology behind our Sat Nav’s. There are now nearly 80 satellites in our skies and a Sat Nav needs 4 in order to create accurate positioning and provide distance and time scales.
The Satellite Navigation system first hit the shelves in the 1990’s with the “Tom-Tom”. It took the driving world by storm – the mobile gadgets which you plugged into the dashboard. Nowadays, almost all new vehicles tend to be manufactured with in-built Sat Nav’s. They are much more accurate, easier to set up than the mobile models and safer to use when driving.
The Future of Navigation for the Courier
Digital technology continues to advance. Now mobile phones have their own Sat Nav’s built into them. These may not be as safe for drivers as it is now illegal to use mobile phones while driving, but they offer all the features you would expect to get from your dashboard system.
It is likely portable Sat Nav’s will become obsolete as the system is integrated further into vehicles. It is also likely the information we can access from it will become richer and more accurate. For the moment we will have to wait a little longer for our vehicles to plan routes automatically – but then maybe that’s a good thing…