The satellite navigation system (‘sat-nav’) has become a standard accessory for the motorhome owner over the last few years. Commercial sat-navs started their lives way back in the late nineties and were always a bit cumbersome to use. Systems were difficult to mount, expensive, and worst of all, inaccurate. Even today many motorhome users choose to stay away from sat-navs because they’re often wrong!
However, scientists in Spain have devised a new system which is helping to make sat-navs considerably more accurate. A combination of a traditional GPS signal, beamed down to your device from somewhere in the Earth’s orbit, gyroscopes and accelerometers has helped to narrow down the possible error on a sat-nav to around 2 meters. For a car, that’s about half a length and considerably less if you’re in a motorhome.
Additional accuracy is great news for all vehicles, but it’s even more critical for motorhomes. We receive a lot of motorhome insurance claims that involved motorhome owners trying to correct a wrong turn, often because of the failure of a sat-nav. There is much more of a risk of a motorhome being sent down a narrow track or ending up under a low bridge and therefore accurate directions are much more critical.
With further development it’s also possible that more accurate sat-navs could also be used to prevent accidents. If, for example, one sat-nav sensed a second too close it could warn the driver or, if the technology was perfected, it could even apply the brakes faster than a driver could. All of these developments are a long way off, but they are a step towards making our roads safer.
There aren’t too many motorhome owners without some sort of sat-nav these days and it looks like they’re really going to be a tool to cherish in the future. Improved accuracy can only be a good thing for the motorhome market and it will be interesting to see where it leads to next.