Wikitude Drive: Augmented Reality Navigation

On Friday we told you about a company called Mobilizy who announced two new projects for Android : Wikitude 3 and Wikitude.Me. We’ve just spotted a 3rd project the company is pursuing and it combines your typical GPS navigation turn-by-turn software/app with Augmented Reality concepts. The result is an app called Wikitude Drive:

The developers of the app wanted to see, “if it was feasible to combine real-time navigation with mobile augmented reality.” After watching the above video I concluded that it was both feasible and pointless. The purpose of a navigation application – in my mind at least – is to show us where we should be going and turning with access to more information than we could from the driver’s seat. The “Augmented Reality” part of this application is completely redundant as I could look out the windshield and see exactly the same thing while the application just said, “turn right in XYZ feet.

In my mind the only advantage it has is being light weight becaues it doesn’t have to load maps… but then again maps are what makes seeing where/when you have to turn easier. Otherwise all the app is really doing is flashing arrows in different directions of where you should turn/steer. The voice commands would be helpful… but I just don’t see this being a practical use of augmented reality.

I mean, how pointless does the “augmented reality” portion of this app seem:

wikitude-drive

I mean seriously… doesn’t the above seem pretty ridiculous when you put it into perspective?

WALKING directions with this might work. For example if you’re on a hike in the woods and the trails aren’t easily marked it could help you know where to turn based on certain landmarks but for vehicular transportation I see this as an experiment well performed albeit with a negative outcome. Cheers to the Mobilizy team for trying, but unless they drastically alter the goal of this application, I can’t see it being too useful.

Of course I’ve been wrong before… so if you feel I’m wrong now, type now or forever hold your mouse.

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  • Roy

    IMO you are right about the entire ‘augmented reality’ in the way we see it in Wikitude, Layer etc.

    The only way these things are interesting if they have some sort of awareness of what they are looking at. They could know the distance towards the object a camera is facing and thereby make estimations of what it is and if it deserves a POI. This is way better than random dots in a certain direction (also the reason why I prefer using Places Directory arrows over Layer POI’s).

    If this Wikitude drive could recognize shapes of the road and make suggestions based on that information, THEN it is useful. If it could see the amount of cars, upload it to a server and give live-feeds of current traffic density, THEN it can be useful.

    Point being: the camera needs to be more than a background.

    Don’t buy the hype, augmented reality is leading us nowhere interesting (literally).

  • jon

    If they over lay a grid like Layar. It could be pretty cool. you could see restraunts upcoming down the road or gas stations.

  • http://www.v-business.com Nink

    Augmented reality is ideal when you want to provide additional information but I agree with the above comment this is a poor example. Better examples include maintenance showing you where the part is now and how it should be removed replaced, translation showing you the text in the language of your choice, Additional information example scan a barcode show consumer reports, competitive prices within the current area,assembly instructions or in the case of a food product ingredients (Scan for allergies), recipes etc.

    Augmented reality will be used in ways we can not even imagine that will change the way we interact with the world. It will also be used in ways were we wonder why they bothered. The good news is I am sure someone will watch this video and say “I have an idea” !

  • cwalker29

    I feel like anything different will not at first be accepted!!! When cd’s, dvd, hd tv’s ect. First came out people said a lot of the thing I’m hearing now. They didn’t get real direction the project was trying to go. Until years later… I think you are looking at the furture. Its just to early for u 2 see it!!!

  • stan

    After the wow factor wears thin, this would seem much less useful than a map. I doubt Garmin is going to lose sleep over this. Speaking of which, I bet it works superbly at night LOL

  • Jeff

    Augmented reality stuff is pretty neat in it’s current form, but I look forward to where it will inevitably end up. Take this system: on my phone, using my camera, it’s not all that practical….but if it projected arrows and highlighted roads on my windshield….now THAT would be cool. I’ve always thought that life needed a good HUD. And as for Stan’s night comment…throw in a night vision camera and that would actually be VERY handy.

  • jakob

    i’m with jeff. i’m waiting to use augmented reality via HUD. But what I really anticipate is the day when it displays on my sunglasses.

  • Gaza

    I was about to write the same thing when I read Jeff’s comment. I guess currently this application makes much more sense for people who are hiking, but this effort is more about what will be possible in the near future, i.e. having cars with built in GPS systems which project the instructions on the windshield. Enter the address and follow the arrows…can’t get more simple than that.

    Of course you can add the voice commands, statistics, recalculation in case of an error, selecting routes according to criteria much like viamichelin.com, etc..

    I like this concept for its potential.

  • Paul

    I think this is more a test of an idea than trying to make an actual useful app. I mean, as is, this thing is just a collision maker. However, I do think that the whole “augmented reality” thing will eventually have some solid uses. I just don’t think navigation should really be one of them. Keep your eyes on the road, not your phone, right?