Car companies, owners benefit from SD card-enabled navigation systems

Drivers can upload new mapping information to their on-board navigation systems with SD cards.

It wasn't that long ago that the American auto industry was in dire straits. In the fourth quarter of 2008, automakers reported job losses nearing 150,000. With revenues dropping, concerns grew that even the sector's giants such as Ford, Chrysler and General Motors could close down operations for good. However, keen business decisions and the intervention of the federal government helped car companies right the ship and increase their productivity. At least a portion of this upswing may be attributed to the concerted effort to target consumers outside of the United States, particularly those residing in the developing world. According to research released by the White House, vehicle exports to China increased 39 percent between January and May 2010 over the same period from the previous year. These transactions represented an additional $35.5 billion in sales for the automotive industry.

Car companies will have to stay focused on delivering high-quality products that meet consumer needs in order to maintain this rate of success. Car drivers expect their new purchases to feature highly sophisticated accessories from the outset. For instance, more manufacturers are packaging navigation equipment into their vehicles, allowing customers to quickly and easily get directions to their destination or find nearby restaurants, gas stations or hotels. With this technology, drivers can rest easy knowing they won't get lost when venturing into new territory.

Bankrate contributor Kamil Skawinski noted that navigation systems could significantly enhance the value of a vehicle, making them an ideal investment for both car sellers and owners to consider. However, Skawinski also explained that many consumers prefer to explore their options in the aftermarket instead of having this technology included in a car package. According to Peter MacGillivray, vice president of the Specialty Equipment Market Association, some of the hardware supplied by auto manufacturers cannot provide the same level of functionality and convenience as these aftermarket products.

SD cards improve navigation system performance
In order to compete with these third-party devices, car companies should focus on improving the quality of their own navigation systems and making them more responsive and reliable. One of the major benefits to this technology is that drivers can upload and store map data with the help of a quality SD card. Edmunds contributor Doug Newcomb explained that users can update their system's mapping information by simply inserting an SD card loaded with this information into their console. By diligently keeping their navigation equipment up to date, drivers can avoid running into problems with incomplete or inconsistent maps.

Newcomb also stated that while some navigation systems keep mapping data stored on a hard-disk drive, this information can become outdated over the years. In addition, HDDs operating on magnetic discs will not always be able to access information as quickly as desired due to the technology's physical limitations. The drives' read/write heads must move into position to reach the correct point on the disc platter in order to copy or launch data, often leading to sluggish performance.

Flash memory facilitates quick launch times
SD cards, meanwhile, are not faced with such issues since they run on state-of-the-art NAND flash memory. Car manufacturers and owners alike can benefit from leveraging industrial-grade SD card technology. The combination of high-quality performance and durability offered by these devices can improve the functionality and usefulness of a vehicle's navigation system. Panasonic's line of industrial-strength SD cards, for instance, routinely reach data read speeds of 95 MB/s, allowing drivers to quickly launch their mapping information whenever needed. And with features such as static wear leveling and automatic data refresh, these SD cards have the resilience needed to ensure data remains intact and available for the long haul.

Because this hardware houses such delicate information, it's important that manufacturers take their time choosing the right SD card that will provide the greatest value. A key step in the purchasing process is finding a vendor with the know-how to answer any questions and help guide them to the most apt product. This is especially important with SD cards, given the many finer points of NAND flash memory that need to be considered. DIGISTOR personnel have the experience to address any questions or concerns vehicle owners may have about SD cards, clearing up any lingering confusion and ensuring that customers feel confident in their purchase.

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