If getting directions from your GPS just isn’t enough anymore, you may want to consider looking into the new Garmin Drive product line. The new suite of devices will do everything but drive your car for you, all with the specific purpose of increasing driver situational awareness. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the GPS maker is debuting four new systems — the Garmin Drive, the DriveSmart, the DriveAssist, and finally, the DriveLuxe.
No matter which of these products you choose, you’ll be privy to a host of driver alerts, including warnings for upcoming sharp curves, railroad or animal crossings, alerts for users driving the wrong way, red light and speed camera alerts, traffic information, and fatigue warning alerts with break time and rest stop suggestions during longer routes. See? It does everything but drive for you.
“The most exciting development of the new Garmin Drive line is that driver awareness features typically seen in luxury vehicles are now accessible as an aftermarket solution for all drivers,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “There are many distractions that drivers encounter while running errands, driving to work, or taking road trips. These new driver alerts can remove some of these burdens and help drivers stay aware on the road.”
The Garmin Drive, the most basic of all the new offerings, includes preloaded data from Foursquare points of interest, which gives drivers insight into millions of stores, restaurants, and other destinations. It’ll also feature Garmin Real Directions, which uses recognizable landmarks, buildings, and traffic lights to help give more meaningful instructions, as well as Easy Route Shaping, which will allow drivers to modify a route simply by touching Garmin’s screen.
The DriveSmart builds off this functionality, and also features customizable smart notifications that will allow drivers to use their GPS as a hands free mobile set — choose to display calls, texts, and app notifications all on the screen, and even take calls via Bluetooth if you so choose. If you need another pair of eyes on the road while you drive, you might consider the DriveAssist, which includes a built-in dash camera that continually records and automatically saves video footage on impact on an included microSD card. There’s also a neat little “Go” Alert, which will prompt drivers when the cars ahead of them begin moving after a red light or long stop.
Finally, there’s the Garmin DriveLuxe, which is as beautiful as it is functional. Contained in a forged metal container with an elegant magnetic mount, the DriveLuxe is the most advanced of the new offerings, providing HD Digital Traffic, heralded as “the fastest traffic avoidance solution offered by Garmin, with updates as often as every 30 seconds).
So if you’re looking to drive better in the new year, look toward this latest lineup, with prices starting at $130.