November 8, 2006

Dash Express with Inrix Live Traffic Feeds

Update: Read all All of the Latest news on the Dash Express Shipping 3/27/08!
Update: Now at Amazon: Dash Express $399


Dash Navigation has announced that they have selected Inrix as their provider for real-time traffic flow data in their upcoming GPS launch in the new year. Recall, Dash Navigation previously announced the first consumer GPS with two-way communication so that it can send location information and then receive relevant traffic and Point of Interest (POI) information back.

The Dash Express device will go on sale in California in the first quarter of 2007 and roll nationally in the summer.

The unit has the potential to be a breakthrough device, with an onboard cellular radio and WiFi capability to communicate with the Dash servers and collect not only traffic data, but extra POI information that may be available only on the internet. Yesterday, I talked with both Brian Mistele, CEO of Inrix and Steve Wollenberg, founder and current VP at Dash, and learned quite a bit about the collaboration. So, the other novel aspect of the Dash Express device is that it has pre-loaded historic traffic flow data for major metro areas allowing it to calculate the best route not only based on your preferences, but historic traffic patterns and real-time Inrix based traffic flow data. Very advanced, with the potential for more.

Cutting Edge
As previously reported, the Dash device will also be able to network with other Dash users so that as your metro area starts to fill up with Dash Express owners, they will serve as traffic probes for you (and you for them) in order to help get even more accurate data on the roads you collectively travel on. (Don't go all "Big Brother" on me; the data is shared anonymously through a newly generated random ID that is created every time you turn the unit on.) Also, Inrix recently announced that they will be providing fuel price data available through their data feed service, and at this time there have not been any announcements as to partners who will use this data (i.e. not Dash either). But, picture tapping "Gas Station POI", and it coming back with surrounding gas stations AND current gas prices. How cool and useful is that? This is a no brainer that I would like to see in my GPS. Garmin, TomTom, Mio, Magellan? Please? So, one has to wonder with an open connection to the internet, will the Dash device adopt this kind of data too? This gives you a glimpse into what is possible.

I do know that Dash decided NOT to adopt full browser capability into the Dash Express unit, which for now is OK in my mind saying that it would be a hard adaptation and distraction to drivers. What they are going to offer is optimized content for the Dash Express unit which will allow you to type in let's say "Dim Sum" and it will return a list of restaurants that offer Dim Sum in your area. This is from data that it has culled from familiar on-line search engines.

The Dash Express unit is going to ship in the new year, and it is a flat form factor unit with a few key controls on the front panel as hard buttons. The unit should retail for prices that are comparable to other higher end GPS units. One can only imagine what the potential is for this unit with onboard cellular and WiFi capabilities as well as two way communication. The unit will require a monthly subscription, and is said to be comparable to satellite radio type pricing. For those of you worried about set-up, I was told that the unit requires no configuration out of the box for the cellular/WiFi/server set-up, simply turn on and go. Nice.

Press Release Follows:

Dash Navigation™, Inc. and Inrix, Inc. today announced that Dash will use real-time traffic flow data from Inrix in its Dash Express™ product, the industry's first Internet-connected auto navigation device. Dash will use the Inrix data, which includes GPS-based probe data from more than 625,000 vehicles, to enhance its own Dash Network Traffic™ data, which is collected from the network of Dash devices that automatically report traffic conditions along their routes. By adding the Inrix information to its own data, Dash Express will offer consumers the most comprehensive traffic flow information and the most accurate forecasted travel times available in the industry today.

Unveiled recently at DEMOfall, and scheduled for availability in California in early 2007 and nationwide by summer of 2007, Dash Express will be the first auto navigation device that leverages two-way connectivity and the network of other Dash devices to provide consumers with the best routes based on current traffic conditions. As a result of the partnership with Inrix, each Dash Express device will come pre-programmed with traffic flow information - speeds on freeways and select highways - in 43 major U.S. metropolitan markets. Dash Express will be the only product of its kind that calculates routes based on real-time and historical traffic information. This means that the Dash Express won't just route drivers based on speed limits, it will take into account the factors that affect the speed - time of day, commute and construction - as well as information from other Dash devices on the road.

"Inrix's traffic data ensures that even the first Dash Express user in each city will receive the industry's most accurate traffic and arrival time information," said Dash Chief Executive Officer Paul Lego. "Of course, as new Dash drivers come onboard, more information is added to the Dash traffic network, improving the user experience for everyone."

"Dash has developed the most innovative in-car navigation solution we've seen to help drivers dynamically reroute around traffic and leverage traffic information to save valuable time in their daily lives," said Inrix President & Chief Executive Officer Bryan Mistele. "We're thrilled at our collaboration and expect that the unique and user-friendly Dash Express will be a hit among consumers."

Inrix is able to provide the broadest market coverage and most accurate traffic data to Dash through its unique Smart Dust Network, aggregating traffic information from over 625,000 GPS-enabled commercial vehicles and from multiple private and public sources of traditional traffic sensor data.

Read More in: Automotive GPS | Dash News | GPS News

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Posted by Scott Martin at November 8, 2006 9:07 AM

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