Technology Update

Upgrade any vehicle with Garmin’s latest dual technologies 

At Delivery Magazine we are huge supporters of using a windscreen-mounted dash cam to record the movement of traffic as hazards develop right in front of you on the road. We are also totally converted to the appeal of having an easy to view satellite navigation mapping system to find your way through life.

Up until now its proved problematic to place two different units together on
the interior of the windscreen, as you soon find that the competition for space by the suction cap mounts can result in a restriction to vision.

Now, thanks to the clever people at Garmin thinking outside the square, not only is it possible to combine a dashcam and sat/nav system in one unit, it’s possible to add further safety features that might not have been available when your car was designed. The screen for mapping faces into the car, the camera is in the rear of the unit facing forwards through the windscreen.

Features such as lane departure assist and frontal collision warning are available on some of the latest prestige cars, but, for those with perhaps older vehicles, these benefits have never been part of the original vehicle specification.

Garmin’s Drive Assist 50 brings these and other technology advances together in one unit, together with the availability of providing a Bluetooth connectivity link for hands-free mobile phone use, voice activated instructions to find specific street locations plus the ability to pair wirelessly with a sender unit attached to a rear-vision camera when reversing.

When using the mapping system there are a wide range of selectable audible alerts that warn the driver of locations such as railway crossings, slower moving traffic ahead, fatigue warning, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. As mentioned, these and other alerts are selectable, and it’s up to the driver to choose which features are activated or whether they are muted.

All of these features work surprisingly well, but, unlike a full vehicle system installation, the lane departure warning feature, which detects the white lane markings, is active all the time it is selected, and is not influenced by the use of an indicator switch. On some of our narrow lanes it does tend to sound rather too frequently, making this one feature that we have selected to mute.

The mapping system itself is really easy to use and understand, with clear portrayal of the road network and early warning when a change in position is required. The selection of the destination can be completed manually with the vehicle stationary, or conducted between the driver and the unit by using voice recognition.

One really cool feature is the linking of a camera view of an approaching intersection that works as an overlay of the mapping. This gives a true indication of the appearance of the junction as you approach, making it easier to judge your location and how to best take advantage of the information provided.

When travelling in an area with which you are not familiar, there is a function that displays points of local interest at upcoming locations, and the actual mapping display can be viewed in 2-D tracking upwards on the screen, in 2-D heading north up the screen or in 3-D for a three-dimensional view.

Interestingly, the power cable incorporates an antenna that links to the FM radio network to relay traffic bulletins through the voice-activated link with the unit.

If something untoward occurs in front of your vehicle while driving, the vision recorded by the dash camera can be downloaded into a laptop or standard computer where it can be viewed, and, if required, subsequently copied.

Although insurance companies appear slow to provide an incentive for vehicle owners to use dashcams, they are quick enough to use the information provided if it shows the actions of other road users contributed to an accident or incident where the blame can be apportioned to another driver.

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