2019 is def­i­nite­ly the year of Lin­ux on… the dash­board. This Jaguar is the first car I’ve owned with a se­ri­ous in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, and it’s opened my eyes to a few things, one of which might be a re­al Google vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty: se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion in the map space.

That’s the main sto­ry here, but I’ll tack on a few ran­dom ob­ser­va­tions about the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem for the Jaguar-obsessed that have been read­ing this se­ries.

About those maps… · At break­fast on my re­cent road trip, I got some crud in the sock­et on my Pix­el 2 so An­droid Au­to wouldn’t con­nec­t, and I was look­ing for a place in Seat­tle I’d nev­er been. So I pulled over and puz­zled my way through the Jag’s nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem; this re­quired, among oth­er things, set­ting up a Here.­com ac­coun­t; This is hard­er than it should be. Since I guess the soft­ware is most­ly Here.com’s, I’m go­ing to call these the Here map­s.

Here.­com is an in­ter­est­ing sto­ry; the old Navte­q, they spent some time in the Nokia port­fo­lio, are now owned by a con­sor­tium of car com­pa­nies and In­tel, and now ap­pear in Ger­man cars, in Garmin, and at Bing.

Once I got go­ing, I re­al­ly liked the Here map­s. The pre­sen­ta­tion is way pret­ti­er than Google via An­droid au­to, with nicely-rendered ge­og­ra­phy high­lights like build­ings and park­s. Al­so, it keeps your po­si­tion at the bot­tom of the screen with the area you’re go­ing in front of you. I’m go­ing to guess that there’s a way to switch An­droid Au­to maps away from the de­fault mode where North is at the top and much of the map is filled with area you’ve al­ready tra­versed, but I’ve not found it.

The Here maps al­so make ter­rif­ic use of the fact they’re on two screen­s. Most times, the lit­tle screen be­hind the steer­ing wheel shows an intelligently-selected sub­set of the main screen, but then when you’re com­ing up to a tricky multi-lane cor­ner or free­way ex­it, the small screen has a pic­ture show­ing you which lane you need to be in, or a pic­ture of what the free­way ex­it sign looks like.

Jaguar I-Pace map display

Par­don the low-res pic­ture; try­ing to shoot the dash­board while nav­i­gat­ing, at night, is not ex­act­ly rec­om­mend­ed prac­tice. Note the lane-choice de­tail be­hind the steer­ing wheel. In this case, the de­tail read­out is al­so echoed on the main screen, but some­times the dis­plays are com­plete­ly dis­join­t.

As for ac­cu­ra­cy, in my small sam­ple size it was fine; there were a cou­ple of odd-feeling rout­ings, but I got where I was go­ing. Any oth­er crit­i­cism­s? The key­board for en­ter­ing des­ti­na­tions is slug­gish; but then I haven’t tried the voice search, which ap­par­ent­ly is avail­able. Speak­ing of slow, the nav sys­tem is re­al­ly slow to boot up; you’ll need to wait fif­teen sec­onds or more af­ter turn­ing the car on be­fore it’s ready to take and give di­rec­tion­s.

But when I’d cleaned out my phone’s USB (Protip: tooth­brush) and An­droid Au­to was work­ing again, I didn’t go back, I stayed with Here. I won­der which of Google and Here has bet­ter in­for­ma­tion about where the traf­fic jams are?

There’s a widespread per­cep­tion that Google Maps are un­beat­ably far ahead; for ex­am­ple check out Justin O’Beirne’s mas­ter­ful not to say ex­aust­ing­ly ex­haus­tive drill-downs on the rel­a­tive mer­its of Google and Ap­ple map­s. But, maybe not.

News flash · In the last cou­ple of months I’ve switched from Google to Duck­Duck­Go for my ev­ery­day search­ing, and from Google to Here for au­to nav­i­ga­tion. I’m won­der­ing if I’m look­ing at cracks in the ar­mor.

The rest of the stuff · The Jaguar in­fo­tain­ment soft­ware has been panned by sev­er­al re­view­er­s, who say Tes­la and Au­di are the gold stan­dard. I’m think­ing those guys must be pret­ty good, be­cause there are a lot of things I like about the I-Pace UX.

  1. Multi-screen is good. As I men­tioned, you can put the big-screen maps on the lit­tle screen, but then you can al­so put the big screen au­dio read­out on the lit­tle climate-control screen, leav­ing the big screen free, for maps I guess.

  2. That au­dio read­out is pret­ty nice. I may have aban­doned An­droid Au­to map­s, but I’m still spin­ning tunes through Google Mu­sic, for rea­sons I de­scribed in 2015.

    It turns out you don’t have to switch over to the An­droid Au­to screens to do that. The Jag in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem rec­og­nizes An­droid Au­to as an­oth­er mu­sic source, and will show you what you’re lis­ten­ing to, along with al­bum art, in a visually-pleasing dis­play, way nicer than Google’s.

  3. Jaguar I-Pace music display
  4. The re­view­ers par­tic­u­lar­ly griped about the sys­tem be­ing lag­gy. Yeah, but it just doesn’t both­er me. There are one or two cor­ners that are re­al­ly slow, but they’re frip­peries I don’t need. One thing I do is switch from high-regen for city streets to low-regen on the high­way. There are a cou­ple of routes to get there, in­volv­ing both swipes and tap­s. But nei­ther of them adds up to more than two or three sec­ond­s, and glanc­ing at the road be­tween the steps makes me feel safer.

  5. There’s a “favorite” but­ton you can as­sign loads of dif­fer­ent func­tions to (I picked pause/restart au­dio) and quite a few oth­er op­por­tu­ni­ties for cus­tomiza­tion.

  6. There’s ac­tu­al­ly a built-in Web browser. It does a great job of dis­play­ing on­go­ing, so it must be OK. There’s al­so some canned news and fi­nan­cial ap­pli­ca­tion­s, what I be­lieve on a com­put­er we’d call “bloatware”.

That I-Pace cab­in, it’s the nicest car in­te­ri­or I’ve ev­er spent time in. And it’s not close.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Jay Rishel (Jan 25 2019, at 06:57)

I believe you can tap the compass in Android Auto Google Maps to toggle between north always up and direction of travel being up


From: Paul Guinnessy (Jan 25 2019, at 07:13)

In my Mini Countryman, which uses the BMW maps and a headup display, one of the nice things about the Apple Carplay integration is that you can use Siri or the phone to put in the location in Apple Maps, then one tap on the display, send it automatically over to the Mini/BMW nav system.

Its the little things that count.


From: Justin (Jan 25 2019, at 16:09)

As an Audi driver, where it really shines is when the CarPlay integration is working. Otherwise, it’s just like any other car infotainment system and while it’s better than what I’ve seen in BMWs and MB, it’s a pretty low bar for user experiences in general.


From: Smokey Ardisson (Jan 26 2019, at 02:33)

In a recent quest to discover where a waylaid package might have gone https://www.ardisson.org/afkar/2018/12/19/mystery-of-the-week-maps-and-addresses-gone-awry/ it turns out that Here maps were the only mapping system that had an entry for a 1-to-2-year-old street around here (though not any addresses on the street). I had never heard of Here, but learning that they’re the former Navteq now makes their relative strength sense.


From: J. King (Jan 30 2019, at 18:51)

I'm not a driver, and consequently have rare need of navigation software, or maps. When I do, OpenStreetMap is plenty good enough for me. I think the Google Maps hegemony will only last as long as the ways in which it is more advanced outweigh Google's evil quotient, for a large enough set of people.

I'm already there, and if an avid driver like Tim can get there, too, it probably won't be too long before the middle follows.


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January 23, 2019
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