Toyota and TomTom take Australia

(UPDATE: Photo above updated) Toyota and TomTom have been working together in Europe as it can be seen with the Toyota Yaris SR, and just today they announced a partnership in Australia announcing a portable GPS navigation system that fits into your vehicle’s dashboard. It is called FollowMe navigation unit and it also takes care of the audio in your vehicle. When in portable mode the TomTom device can be used in other vehicles or even in pedestrian mode. FollowMe gets traffic updates from Suna Traffic Monitoring Services to help you battle with traffic, has bluetooth connectivity to pair up with your phone, and it can even read your text messages out loud. Now that’s a life saver. TomTom FollowMe has a 3.5″ screen, and it can even hook up to rear view camera if you opt-in.

FollowMe’s motorized tilting front panel can be adjusted up to 30 degrees to reduce sun glare, and hides the CD slot. You’ve got an optional iPod connection kit (costs extra) that brings your GUI to the dash, and if you remove your navigator you can still use all the other functions of FollowMe.

FollowMe - which really resembles an Eclipse AVN2210p by the way - uses a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer that calculates vehicle speed and direction, even in tunnels where satellite signals generally drop out…

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toyota mr2 carputer with custom GPS VB GUI interface

Here is a GUI interface made with Visual Basic that is actually useful (unlike this one which promises to track IP addresses). Some German dude with a lot of time in his hands removed the standard gauges and indicators from this center console and replaced it with custom made touch screens that it is either controlled with touch (duh..) or the console mounted iDrive knob. You have the check out the gallery to believe it.

It is for sale in Germany however some programming and soldering skills are required to qualify.

Yaris SR with Eclipse AVN2210p

Yaris SR in Europe is getting the new Eclipse AVN2210p which includes a detachable TomTom portable navigation system.

Nice thing about this setup is that you can use the 3.5″ touch screen as an interface for the car stereo and when docked into its place the TomTom charges its battery so you never have to worry about unsightly cables and such.

Eclipse AVN2210p is a double-DIN sized audio unit that has a USB port, bluetooth, offers satellite radio capability, and with an extra attachment it lets you control your iPod too.

If you are not thinking of moving out to Europe and getting an Yaris SR - do not worry. You can still pick one up here in the US. Eclipse AVN2210p currently costs $500 on Amazon (or $600 if you want the blue backlight).

AVN2210p maybe the solution for those Prius owners who are going mad because they can’t control the GPS navigation system while driving. Yup, sell the Prius, move to Europe and get a Yaris SR…

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Toyota Yaris embeds TomTom

TomTom today announced in Germany that Toyota’s Yaris will come with the option of an embedded portable navigation as a part of Yaris’ built-in radio system. The device being mentioned looks like the Eclipse AVN2210p which we have talked about before.

The best part of this system is that it is clutter free, fitting right onto Yaris’ dashboard; but at the same time it is portable, in case you need to use it on foot or in another vehicle.

Other benefits of TomTom and Toyota cooperating is that the navigation system will integrate seamlessly with car’s already existing audio system which will be utilized during vocal driving directions or taking hands free phone calls thanks to the bluetooth feature.

We’re not sure if/when TomTom embedded Yaris will be available in the States… via

G-Book mX Pro from Toyota - Drive on Demand

G-Book mX Pro from Toyota (only available in Japan) is adding a new network technology to cars that will download up-to-date maps and traffic information. When this data meets the on-board GPS navigation system drivers will have the quickest (or shortest) route being offered to them. While Pro version has its own data transmission device embedded inside, the basic version requires a mobile phone.

G-Book mX Pro which will be available in luxury models is expected to cost around $100 per year after the initial complimentary year.

One of other feature G-Book mX Pro offers is called “Probe Communication Traffic Information” which is basically what Dash Network is trying to get running here in the U.S. I guess the Japanese engineers beat them to it.

This unique Toyota traffic information service gathers driving data – such as speed and position – from vehicles equipped with G-BOOK mX to provide drivers with alternate routes for avoiding traffic congestion. Because it makes use of the on-board DCM, the information gathering capability of this service is superior to similar systems, which rely solely on cell phones, and efficiently stores information about traffic congestion in real time at the G-BOOK Center. In this way the Probe Communication Traffic Information service supplements Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) information with updates on traffic congestion, providing drivers with highly accurate predictions about the current traffic situation and suggestions for the best alternate routes to take.

Other features of the device are hands free bluetooth capability, HDD for maps and music, and even more interesting is a “stop sign notification service” which will let the drivers know at specially dangerous intersection that they need to stop. The system will also check if the driver is not slowing down at a stop sign intersection based on the map information and the distance between the vehicle and the stop line determined by an on-board camera… via

toyota fj cruiser comes with garmin quest 2 storage

Have you met the Toyota FJ cruiser yet? It is the new SUV like vehicle or as they call it “the most distinctive and capable 4×4 in the Toyota lineup”. With the FJ Cruiser Toyota is bringing back the legendary FJ40 started in the 60’s and the 70’s which Toyota continued making until 1983. It is hard to believe but the old FJ40’s are still in use in some parts of the world under rough conditions. Anyhow, for under $25,000 you get a 4.0-liter V6 engine, generating 245 horsepower and 282 lb-ft. of torque. But let’s come to the stuff we care about: The GPS navigation system!! Well there isn’t one. Nor it is an option. With the new FJ Cruiser you get a special compartment on your dashboard specially designed for a Garmin Quest 2 GPS navigation device. This storage will be on the driver side above the instrument panel leaving some space for the optional multi-information display with inclinometer, compass and temperature gauge. From the looks of it we can see that this is only designed as a storage, since the fold-out GPS antenna on the Quest 2 won’t have any room, nor the storage area is wired for recharching your navigator.



where does navigation info come from?

If you’ve been our reader for a while then you must know how these GPS navigation maps are made, how they know each turn, and how they are so accurate. In fact we had an article about mapquest maps a while ago. Another big name in digital mapping business is TeleAtlas. They provide the map for GPS navigators such as TomTom, Pharos and Navman, and automobile makers including BMW, Ford, Honda and Toyota.

Anyhow, in this new article people at Digital Trends were able to get some up close shots of the vehicle TeleAtlas uses to create their maps. It is a good read that will give you an idea how it is all done.

A typical Tele Atlas GPS Mobile Mapping Van is a converted minivan which sports a roof rack like contraption holding a GPS antenna and four digital cameras. Inside the driver, in this case Vermeys, interacts with an IBM ThinkPad which runs several programs to help him in collecting map data. One program is the existing road data itself, with assigned roads for him to drive during a day. Another program monitors photographs which are taken by the four external cameras every ten meters.


hack your Toyota Prius GPS Navigation System

Coastal Electronic Technologies offers a long list of Prius enhancements, all or most of which can be installed, so they claim, at home with simple tools. In addition to their own prefab EV hack, CET offers a satellite radio system, added audio/video inputs, an auto-lock function for the doors, an iPod interface, and a system that lets the 12 volt power outlets stay on when the motor is off. They also offer a devise that bypasses the “I Agree” prompt shown by the GPS system when the car is started, and allows a person to enter a destination while the car is in motion (previously impossible).

If your new Prius is equipped with the factory navigation system, you have seen the opening “I AGREE” disclaimer countless times. It comes on every time you turn on the car and prompts you to press the “I AGREE” before you can use the navigation system. Numerous requests have prompted us to include a feature to remove this step in the Navigation Enhancement Kit.
You asked, so we did it : )

toyota-prius-nav-494.jpgYou also may have noticed that even your passenger is prevented from entering a DESTINATION while the car is in motion. This eliminates a great deal of the functionality of the Navigation system and requires the car to be stopped before you can create a route to an address. In our family, my wife tries to race and enter a destination before the stoplight changes, only to lose right at the end because the light has switched and I have to move the car to avoid getting honked at. This became the inspiration for this kit : )

The NAVIGATION ENHANCEMENT KIT solves both of these issues without the need to cut any wires or perform virtually any disassembly of the car. It is easy to put in and just as easy to take out if you wish. Simply slide the drivers seat back and unplug a couple of connectors from the NAV unit underneath. The kit has the matching plugs to allow it to be inserted right back in the same spot. After plugging it in, the “I AGREE” screen will be automatically removed and any press of the DESTINATION button will allow full function of the touch screen and navigation functions!!!

The kit costs $99!!

Other random things for Prius from Amazon:

  • toyota prius dash kit
  • toyota prius remote starter

Toyota Japan adds navigation system as an option

Toyota Japan is getting serious about competing in the car navigation system niche. On May 8th they will be launching eight new models of navigation systems that will be available as dealer installed options. There will be five HDD models and three which rely on DVDs for content. The hard drive models will feature 40GB of storage capacity along with DVD playback and 5.1 virtual surround sound.

A 7-inch display monitor is standard, but a 9-inch LCD for the rear seat is an option. You can also choose to add a digital terrestrial TV tuner, a receiver for MobaHO!, a satellite digital audio/video service in Japan, or iPod connection capabilities.

These will not be cheap options from Toyota. The HDD models will range in price from $1,900 to $2,800, and the DVD versions range from $1,375 to $1,700. Presumably Toyota will use Japan as a test market to see if it makes sense to expand to wider markets.