Google Maps updates for the visually impaired
THE TECH CIRCUIT - Yasunari Ramon Suarez Taguchi (The Freeman) - October 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Google released over the weekend a series of updates for its Google Maps suite. The updates are aimed at helping visually impaired individuals better work their way around major city roads.

Rolled out in time for this year’s “World Sight Day,” the update comes with real time “walking prompts” that guide persons with visual impairments – the said prompts being based on Google Maps data, GPS tracking data and the maximum utilization of available smartdevice snsors and street/road condition data.

Spearheaded by Tokyo-based Google business analyst Wakana Sugiyama (who herself is visually impaired), the update entails the activation of the Google Maps suite’s “detailed voice guidance,” from where navigation prompts can be customized to fit with the specifics of a user.

Though currently available in Japan and the US only, the update has roused the attention of tech pundits and consumers alike postulating that the future of tech-assisted navigation is likely to entail the utilization of more real-time sensors. More information on the update is hosted on Google’s official online channels.

An electric vehicle that runs on “Android Auto”

Last week, luxury automobile brand Volvo rolled out teasers for an electric vehicle (EV) variant of its XC40 crossover SUV that runs on a native variant of Google’s “Android Auto.”

Expected to be formally unveiled this week, the development takes after the well-received run of Volvo’s Polestar2, which is known for being the first vehicle to run on an Android-based infotainment system.

The enhanced OS on the EV XC40’s OS is primed to better help motorists with intuitive support for Google Maps, Google Assistant and more. The teasers of the system show the implementation of a HUD redesign, mostly to help drivers have more convenient control of the system while on the road.

Services like live traffic advisories based on Google Maps data and smart direction guiding/navigation are among the highlights of the OS’ implementation, apart from serving as an Given the system’s native code base, the development has largely been praised as a step-up in the automotive industry, what with the Android operating system’s clout as a trusted operating system for mobile devices.

The development comes two years after Volvo committed to be the first automobile brand to work with Google’s Android-oriented initiatives.

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