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Trafficmaster sat-nav improved

A series of upgrades will be launched this autumn to boost Trafficmaster’s innovative satellite-navigation system.

Smartnav, which relies on a voice guidance system instead of a screen to prevent drivers being distracted, will swap its existing GSM mobile phone network for the newer GPRS set-up.

‘It sounds complicated, but it means we can send more data more quickly, so drivers will notice faster route guidance,’ said a spokeswoman.

The upgrade also brings an array of new options, including pan-European route guidance. From the autumn, motorists will be able to use Smartnav in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Trafficmaster is also developing a system to guide drivers around London’s Congestion Charge zone.

Smartnav costs £499 for the black-box hardware, plus fitting (typically £150) and an annual subscription (£120). Owners can add options such as speed camera alerts (£8 a month) and stolen-car tracking (£10 a month).

Motorists can now also order a touch-screen, which displays simplified route instructions in addition to the voice directions.

http://www.whatcar.co.uk/News_Article.asp?NA_ID=216169
 

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I think TrafficMaster have their heads up their posteriors if they think they can charge these sorts of prices for a system that doesn't even support full on-screen mapping. Of course, manufactuerers can and do charge well over these prices for factory-fit systems, but compared with the other after-fit options, this is a non-starter.

It's a shame, because in my opinion, TrafficMaster still have the only traffic monitoring network that's worth having. I was hoping that the traffic option on my TomTom GO would allow me to sell my TrafficMaster YQ2, have one less thing cluttering the dash, and pay 1/3 of the price for an annual subscription, but the TomTom traffic data is next to useless compared with TrafficMaster (which is far from perfect in itself.)

I'd really like to see TrafficMaster dump these ridiculous attempts at getting into a market that they obviously don't understand. Instead, they should collaborate with third-party sat-nav developers to provide better quality traffic information on their systems. I'd gladly pay the 110 quid a year I'm paying at the moment (I might even pay more) for the TrafficMaster data to be integrated into my TomTom so that it could auto-route around any delays. I don't see it happening any time soon though.
 
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I think you're absolutely right Horatio, they should concentrate on the provision of the service, licencing its use to 'proper' SatNav providers and manufacturers.

I had a Traffic Master Freeway but it's sat on my office windowsill gathering dust, I never really trusted it enough to pay money for it so never renewed the licence.
 

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There's no way I could do my daily commute without the YQ2 now. The few times I've had to do the run without (because I have a hire car while mine is in for service, and forgot to take the TrafficMaster with me) I've always made some sort of excuse to leave work early and get in late the following day, just to avoid peak traffic. The YQ2 does a grand job of giving me the best return motorway route from Chester to Salford every day, and if it tells me both motorways are useless, I can take my chances on the A roads.

I've never been that taken with the 'talky' TrafficMaster products - I don't think they'd tell me what I need to know, i.e. which is the best route round Birmingham (though the YQ doesn't know about the toll road and probably never will) or whether I should hop onto the M6/M62 of a morning or stick with the M56/M60. News of what's going on three or four junctions ahead is useless. By the time I found out about a serious problem, I'd already be committed to the route.

So it looks like the YQ2 is staying put. Though I wonder if anyone knows of any adhesive pads that are good enough to take the weight of the thing (and stick to the Laguna's rather unevenly textured dash) but which won't leave a permanent mark when I finally need to remove them and return the car. Pritt pads and most double-sided foam tapes are next to useless. Sellotape outdoor sticky fixers seem to be about the best I've found so far, though even they fail when the weather gets really hot.

Any suggestions?
 
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