Honda Motor Co Ltd announced March 8, 2011, that it will offer the "Internavi Linc" service to all Honda vehicle users for free.
The Internavi Linc is a new service that uses the information network of the "Internavi Premium Club," which is an information service for the company's vehicles, and enables its users to receive traffic information, maintenance information, a history of fuel cost, etc by using a PC, mobile phone or smartphone. It is possible for Honda vehicle users to use the new service for free without a car navigation system supporting the Internavi.
For the Internavi Linc, Honda will offer a newly-developed smartphone application called "Drive Locator" and provide it for Apple Inc's iPhone, in addition to the services that are for PCs and mobile phones and have been provided to the members of the Internavi Premium Club.
The Drive Locator can show a route calculated at Honda's information center on the Google map. Furthermore, it shows the location of the user's vehicle by using the GPS reception module installed in a smartphone while the vehicle is running. Though it does not automatically update the information, it is possible to manually update or recalculate the information by touching the screen of the smartphone.
The Drive Locator has less functions and a lower performance than car navigation systems. For example, it does not have a voice navigation function or show a cursor on the screen to tell when to make a turn, etc. However, because the Drive Locator shows a route based on traffic information and the latest map data, it may be helpful enough for the driver.
At this point, Honda defines the Drive Locator as a function that is used by a person sitting on the front passenger seat. At first, it will be offered as an application only for the iPhone. But the company plans to release an application for Android-based machines within 2011.
Honda built a system to collect driving data for the new smartphone application. However, such data collected by a smartphone may include data that is recorded when the user is walking or riding a bike or a motorcycle. Therefore, the company intends to develop methods to sort out the data and utilize it.
The Internavi Linc will become available March 18, 2011, for users who registered a new vehicle in or after March 2011 and the members of the Internavi Premium Club. Existing Honda vehicle users who are not members of the club will be able to use the service by registering for the service at shops in or after June 2011.