Volkswagen's Nav Systems Now Secretly Plan Detours When Traffic Snarls Your Daily Route

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen's Nav Systems Now Secretly Plan Detours When Traffic Snarls Your Daily Route

The ideal navigation system automatically knows where you want to go, and the fastest route to get you there, with minimal button pushing. And with a new feature called Regular Routes that memorizes your most-driven destinations, Volkswagen’s nav units move one step closer to that dream.


Now that GPS navigation systems are a standard feature on most vehicles, it’s the software itself that helps distinguish and sell them. For example, Garmin’s nav units now give you an early heads up on hazards you haven’t seen yet, like curves in the road ahead, railway crossings, and speed traps.

Automatically keeping tabs on where you drive on a regular basis isn’t exactly a technological leap for VW’s Discover Media and Discover Pro navigation systems, but what they do with that information is. If you head out on a route the system has memorized and recognizes, it will automatically assess the traffic on every road you normally take. If it looks like there will be congestion that might delay your arrival, VW’s navigation systems will calculate a clear detour.

This route check is automatically done in the background, without you having to ask. For most of your drives to work, where there’s no traffic to deal with, you won’t even know it’s happening. But on the day when an accident or construction might cause traffic delays, VW’s nav system will ask if you’d like to take the detour it’s pre-calculated instead. It’s also a feature that will be standard on new Volkswagen vehicles, although there’s no word if older VWs will be privy to an upgrade.




With the abundance of smartphones that each have one, if not multiple, map apps capable of providing navigation and turn-by-turn directions, is there much of a point to built in nav systems in cars anymore? I guess you might get a larger screen to see the map on, but I just don’t see the value in a built in system when my smartphone can do the same, if not better, function.