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CeBIT: hands on with Navigon Smart Parking

I'm not gonna bang about how quiet CeBIT is this year (again, anyway). But congratulations must go to satnav manufacturer Navigon, who are about the only people whose stand seems to be doing a roaring trade here.

And yes, it says something when GPS devices are generating the buzz.

See also: Navigon satnavs get smarter with Clever Parking

Navigon has introduced three killer features to its range of satnavs - My Routes, Smart Parking, and smarter 3D mapping. And after having a play with a few of the devices, I can certainly say that these features - out in April - add something to the humble GPS.

My Routes intelligently learns your driving style over time, and then works out the best route for you. Live to drive fast? It'll stick you on the motorway. Always get stuck in traffic on a certain road? It'll help you avoid it. You get three routes proffered, factoring in your habits and driving style, and on-the-fly traffic updates. Of course, without plotting a course on foot to the bier halle, it is impossible for me to test this, but it looks smart and is a nice, if gimmicky, feature.

Smart Parking seems to have gripped the public's imagination. In essence, when you get near to your destination, it tells you where a variety of different parking options are, and how much each costs. We used it to plot a route through London, with some success. Local knowledge couldn't be beaten, although a really killer feature would be knowing when carparks are full.

The 3D aspect also looks really nice, and replicates the view from your windscreen with some success. We're not sure, however, about Navigon's claim that this will improve safety: it's difficult to take your eyes off the screen.

Other nice features include a lane assistant which helps you stay in the right lane, and a double corner tool, to make multiple turn junctions much easier.

It pains us to say it about a humble satnave, but on first impression, Navigon rocks.

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