I have an idea for the GPS companies of the world, companies like Google, Garmin, Magellan and Tom Tom.
First, however, I would like to tell a story.
Two summers ago I worked as a food marketing intern for Sunbelt Foods Company. We did sales and marketing for companies such as Dietz & Watson, T. W. Garner (Texas Pete) and Thunderbay Seafood. Much of my time was spent delivering samples and talking about items with restaurant owners and chefs. Although I had lived in Atlanta all of my life, I had little idea where most of these restaurants were. I was relying on printed directions off of Mapquest to get me to my destination. After a week of shuffling through pages on the road, I decided I needed to pony up and get a GPS.
I bought a little Garmin GPS – and it saved my butt. The GPS was not perfect, often I knew faster and easier routes, but it got me to the right place. It worked great for several months (until I dropped it).
The system was so handy I decided to get another Garmin this past January. I used it a few times, but it still often sent me on routes that I knew were slower.
And then this past summer I got a smartphone. I must say the GPS software for my Android HTC Slide is vastly superior to the Garmin that I purchased 6 months prior, it gives me real time traffic updates, refreshes faster and is much more visually appealing. However, it continues to take me on slower routes.
In the short term GPS systems should allow humans to flag inefficient routes. Allow for an individual to flag the section of a route they think is inefficient, then drive their preferred route. If the route is flagged enough the GPS system should make an adjustment for drivers in the area.
Looking forward I think there is a great opportunities using in-car connectivity and cloud computing to interpret the fastest form of navigation, but until that day arrives. Lets focus on making the routes more accurate.