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What Is Augmented Reality Navigation?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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Augmented reality navigation is similar to a global positioning system (GPS), but it focuses more on enhancing reality than on generating a map. The major difference between augmented reality navigation and GPS is how the map is created, because augmented reality overlays a map through the device’s camera. Some navigation programs read and respond to the camera, while others just overlay a map. One benefit to using this system is that it normally is easier to execute navigational commands. Another benefit is that this usually is safer for drivers, because they can actually see the road when looking at the map.

To use augmented reality navigation, a person uses a device with a camera and inputs an address. Unlike a GPS, which generates a colored map that only shows a representation of the road, augmented reality overlays a line or dots on an image to show the user where to go. This means that, when the user looks at the device, he will see the road itself with the overlay showing him where to drive.

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In this format, information is coming in from the camera, and some augmented reality navigation programs can read and respond to this information. If this is possible, then the program may be able to understand that the road is blocked or that a car is getting very close and can change the course or alert the driver. Navigational programs that cannot respond to the camera still will overlay a course, but they normally cannot do much more than that.

While augmented reality navigation is similar to a GPS in many ways, it does have some benefits of GPS use. One such benefit is that it is easier to follow instructions. Unlike a GPS, which just gives the user instructions, augmented reality will show the user exactly where to turn. This benefit is best experienced in crowded or confusing driving conditions, where there may be several similar turns that lead to completely different areas.

Safety is another benefit, because the augmented reality navigation user does not need to take his eyes off the road. If the user feels inclined to look at a GPS, either because of confusing instructions or another reason, then he has to glance away from the road. This may be enough time to cause an accident. Augmented reality uses the camera and shows what is happening in real-time, so the user will see real driving conditions, even if he looks at the device.

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