With all the action going down at Google I/0 you can be excused for missing this latest tidbit: the folks behind Wikitude have made the beta version of Drive (their augmented reality personal navigation app) available for free for 2,000 users. And we just got our hands on it, so we know that there are at least a few downloads left at the Android Market. The full-featured demo sports NAVTEQ map data, both AR street view and 3D map view, worldwide coverage, voice commands, and both driving and walking directions. There's no word yet on when the final version will be released, so this might be your last chance for a while to play with what's stacking up to look like a pretty decent application. See the thing in action and check out the PR yourself after the break.
Wikitude Drive, the first mobile Augmented Reality (AR) satellite navigation system with global coverage, launches for test drivers.
Salzburg, May 20, 2010. Wikitude Drive, the Grand Prize Winner of the Global Navteq LBS Challenge 2010 at Mobile World Congress last February in Barcelona, transforms your Android smartphone into a mobile navigation system looking a bit like something out of a science fiction movie...
Driving directions not only appear on screen, they are overlaid on the live video stream of the very street you are driving on. As a result, you are seeing the real world and real road in front of you, while being directed by a digital route on top of it.
Never take your eyes off the road again
Wikitude Drive distinguishes itself from other navigation systems in two ways:
First, due to the overlaying of the route onto the live video stream of the surroundings, the driver can easily recognize and follow the suggested route. Instead of looking at an abstract map you are looking at the real world. The navigation system leads the driver through unfamiliar territory in a natural, real and easy way.
Secondly, Wikitude Drive solves a key problem that all other navigation systems have. These systems require the driver to take his eyes off the road in order to look at the abstract navigation map. Just by looking at the map screen for one second when driving at 100 km/h (62 mph), the driver is actually "blind" for 28 meters (92 ft). Think about how much can happen in those precious meters. Since Wikitude Drive provides you with driving directions on top of the live video stream, you still see what is happening in front of you when looking at the display of your mobile AR navigation system.
In some driving conditions however, for example when driving in the dark, a traditional map is in fact advantageous. With just one tap on the cell phone's touch screen, you can switch between the Augmented Reality view and the traditional 3D map-view. To give you additional navigational directions, voice commands are provided as well.
Navigational data comes from Navteq, a global supplier of mapping and routing information. A future version of Wikitude Drive will integrate with Wikitude World Browser to offer millions of Points of Interests to leverage the full power of the Internet and user generated content.
Looking for Test Drivers – Community Feedback Wanted
On May 20, 2010, during Google I/O, the Google Developers Conference in San Francisco, Wikitude Drive (beta) will be available in the Android Market for 2000 test drivers based in the US, starting 10am, PST.
During this beta phase, the development team is looking valuable feedback from the community. Please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wikitude Press Releases: http://www.wikitude.org/category/pressreleases
Wikitude Drive (beta) is fully functional and offers following features:
Driving and Walking Directions
Mobilizy is an early pioneer in commercial augmented reality and the creator of the Wikitude World Browser, which is one of the first practical augmented reality (AR) mobile applications available worldwide. Mobilizy GmbH engages in the research and in-house development of location-based services and augmented (mixed) reality experiences for smart-phones. Mobilizy is one of the leading innovators in developing new methods and applications for data acquisition and exchange in the emerging market of mobile augmented reality. Wikitude is sponsored by the Austrian Wirtschaftsservice (Impulse Program).
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