Facebook     LinkedIn     Twitter     Google Plus     Jobs     RSS

Business Fleet - Current Articles

September 2009, Business Fleet - Feature

How to Choose a Portable Navigation System

In a technology-driven world and with the expanding growth of GPS navigation, the choice of a portable navigation device for fleet vehicles is a matter of features, cost and convenience.

by Lisajoyce Vergara - Also by this author

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe

In the complicated world of driving and directions, help arrived with the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which can assist drivers in navigating unfamiliar territory with confidence. Physical roadmaps are tools of the past.

Everywhere GPS Needs to Be

A portable system has the advantage of easy transfer from vehicle to vehicle, enabling drivers to share a unit or lend it to others. Most units allow users to choose guidance options that include plotting the shortest and fastest routes. The database not only directs drivers to their destinations, turn-by-turn, it also can provide common points of interest such as gas stations and ATMs.

Nearly 14 million portable GPS navigation devices were sold in 2006, compared to about 4 million in-dash navigation units. Priced at $300 to $800, portable units are less expensive than the typical price tag of up to $2,000 for an integrated, in-dash, factory-installed navigation system.

Market leaders Garmin, Magellan and TomTom brands now face competition from brands such as Alpine, Rand McNally, Delphi Audiovox, Cobra and others, according to ConsumerReports.org.

Choosing a Portable System

The following considerations when choosing a portable device can help fleets best utilize the system.

1. Navigation Functionality. Focus on the device functionality and research how other users rate it based on features and map database coverage.

2. Built-in Battery Convenience. The battery should operate for at least four hours on one charge.

3. Text-to-Speech Capability. A system that speaks street names rather than announcing directions (for example, "turn left") helps drivers negotiate an unfamiliar area. This feature reduces the need for drivers to take their eyes off the road to look at an on-screen map.

4. Unit Size. The more portable the unit, the better. Units have decreased in size since the first portable GPS device entered the market. However, a too-small device may be hard to read or operate. A 3.5-inch screen is a good compromise of portability and usability.

Portability Poses Drawbacks

Disadvantages to consider before purchasing a portable GPS include:

  • Units can be lost or stolen.
  • Smaller unit size decreases screen display visibility.
  • Tunnels and concrete canyons interrupt satellite signals and prevent units from functioning. The more sophisticated in-dash versions can project a vehicle's path on the route map, even when the satellite signal is interrupted. However, neither portable nor in-dash units are completely foolproof.
  • Warranties are short-term, generally 1 to 2 years.
  • Portable units attach to the windshield or the dashboard with a simple suction cup, which can obstruct a driver's vision and may be prone to theft. Some states, such as Minnesota, prohibit mounting a portable navigation device on the windshield, and individual fleet policies that ban placing units on the windshield may supersede state regulations. BF

 

Your Comment

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
Your Name:  
Your Email:  

E-NEWSLETTER

Authoritative & Targeted! We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry. Subscribe to one or all of them...they're FREE. SUBSCRIBE!

View the latest eNews DRIVING FORCE

ARTICLE ARCHIVE SEARCH

Popular Tags:

Fleet Job Finder


Save time and money. Search for fleet jobs. Advance your career. Access our career coaching services

Job Seekers

  Post your resume & manage your job search.

Employers

  Post jobs & search top quality resumes.

Featured Jobs

BLOG

Driving Notes

Mike Antich
2015 Mazda6 GT Sedan

By Mike Antich
The Mazda6 represents an ideal model for the commercial fleet market and, after spending several days in the vehicle, I can see where it can excel in meeting commercial fleet applications, especially as a sales or reward vehicle.

2015 Chevrolet Trax Compact SUV

By Steven Martinez
The Trax has a small footprint, a small engine and clever interior cargo space that maximizes every inch of the vehicle. Chevrolet will be offering a fleet version of the Trax based on the entry model LS trim.

2015 Toyota Camry XSE Sedan

By Adam Pringle

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Mid-Size Pickup

By Chris Wolski

Market Trends

Mike Antich
The Danger of Lower Fuel Prices

By Mike Antich
The recent drop in fuel prices has been as breathtaking as earlier run-up in prices. If sustained, these reduced fuel prices will begin to make a dent in overall fleet fuel expenditures.

Are Ride Sharing & Car Sharing New Fleet Management Options?

By Mike Antich
The role of ride-sharing and car sharing services in fleet operations, is a growing topic of conversation in Europe and China. With this as a backdrop, what future role will car sharing services have in U.S. fleet operations?

Ruminating About the Medium-Duty Truck Market

By Mike Antich

10 Factors Driving Commercial Fleet Vehicle Acquisitions

By Mike Antich

Auto Focus

Chris Brown
5 Predictions for Car Rental in 2015

By Chris Brown
Next year’s mechanics hinge on plentiful new car supply and a softening used car market.

Premieres and Trends at the LA Auto Show

By Chris Brown
The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show featured less green-speak and more driving excitement aimed at younger buyers. Get ready for more compact crossovers, as Mazda, Honda, Fiat, Volkswagen and Scion launch brand-new models next year.

Hertz’s Earnings News: Rapid Reaction

By Chris Brown

Assessing the Plusses and Minuses of Today’s Market

By Chris Brown

STORE

$5.00

Business Fleet - January/February 2014

In This Issue:
Here are some of the Highlights:

  • Got Compliance
  • Vehicle Valuation 101
  • Cabovers Gain Popularity in Medium-Duty Truck Fleets
    And much more…