Ten Years of Unscrambled GPS

Kurt LawtonEquipment, General, GPS, Satellite

Readers of precision.agwired.com know the value of how satellites and accompanying technology has totally changed farming. And as a journalist who has covered the precision agriculture industry before it’s birth, I’m jealous of some technologies that I want for my car–like auto steering.

While that technology is a ways off into the future, Gearlog.com posted a recent piece on how unscrambled GPS has helped consumers. It listed a few benefits we’ll see before self-driving cars.

More efficient hybrids. A hybrid car is good for half a mile to two miles in EV (electric vehicle – only) mode but the car typically keeps the hybrid battery topped up as soon as it gets a chance. With a smarter GPS receiver that talks to the car’s navigation system and to the charging system, the GPS could advise the car it’s about to head down a long hill in a mile, but only after two hills. The car would use the electric motor on the hills, or whatever works best for efficiency, and arrive at the start of the downhill with the hybrid battery nearly depleted, then use the downhill to recharge the battery. The result would be improved economy.

Predictive swiveling headlamps. On higher-end cars, the headlamps swivel lift and right when you turn the wheel. With more accurate GPS, the car would start to turn the headlamps a second or two before the road curves. That adds a small measure of safety. Plus, on a dark country road at night, sometimes it’s hard to recognize if you’re seeing the road marking curve sharply to the right, or if that’s an angled white rail fence 20 yards off the highway. The headlamps could help show you the way.

Ultra-accurate speedometer. A GPS system also calculates your speed. Car speedometers are often inaccurate by a couple miles per hour, sometimes to insure that even if you use a slightly different diameter tire, you’re never going faster than the speedometer indicates. Some drivers like the insurance factor of a mechanical speedometer that reads high by a couple mph. Others may want to know that when the speedometer shows you’re doing 68 mph, you’re doing 68, not 65, 66, or 69. So you could use GPS to apply a correction factor to your speedometer. Or not. No doubt all these features would be ones you could enable or disable, at your discretion.

Read more details here.