With the increased use of smartphones for navigational purposes, such as pulling up maps, getting directions and traffic conditions, automakers are coming under increased pressure on ways to compete with their sometimes quite expensive in-vehicle navigation systems.
The in-vehicle navigation system market is currently sitting at approximately 13.8 million installations this year and is expected to increase to about 32.7 million by 2019. In-vehicle navigation systems are very profitable for vehicle manufacturers as not only do they have good profit margins, but are usually bundled with higher-end packages which include leather seats, premium audio and more.
It is definitely an uphill battle, though, as there are two areas which don't exactly thrill drivers. The first is that in-vehicle navigation systems usually range from $500 to $2000 dollars, and given the option of paying these prices or using a free app on an iPhone, it's pretty much a given that given the choice, the consumer will opt for the much less expensive method.
The second is that many of the navigation systems rely on stored map data that can become dated in a relatively short time. This is also compounded by the use of social networking apps, such as Waze, that allow people to add driving conditions and information in real time.
One thing is for certain, the vehicle engineers are going to have to put all their effort into coming up with new and better navigation systems that are closer to what a driver can get from a free app, while still trying to maintain profit margins for the companies.