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.
If you think back only ten or fifteen years, motorhome camping was about exploration and the unknown: it was about good quality maps and a bit of luck. However these days there’s no need to have any fear as you go off into the great outdoors as there is so much technology around to help you on your way.
The sat-nav remains an essential item for motorhome owners and there are few who can do without them. Interactive, up-to date information is essential for avoiding traffic, picking the most efficient route, and also avoiding roads that motorhomes don’t belong on. A harmless green line on a map doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the road but a sat-nav can and it can help you avoid a difficult situation.
Equally, the smartphone has been of great use to those who like to make their camping decisions as they go. New apps are available to help campers find sites quickly and easily and it’s often possible to check availability before you turn up. This sort of technology has brought motorhomes to the masses and is helping to attract more and more first time motorhome owners each year.
On top of all of this, the administrative hassle of buying a used motorhome has been slashed by technology. It’s now possible to find and review a motorhome online, make an offer over the phone, and collect your motorhome when you’re ready to drive off. Most motorhome insurance quotes are now renewed and offered online, making the process of trading incredibly easy indeed.
Though a lot of people like to use their motorhome to get away from the constant bombardment of emails and from using a laptop, there’s no doubt that so much technology exists to help motorhome owners get by and make the most of the time they have away.
New research has shown that motorhome owners look set to snub driverless vehicle technology despite over 300,000 miles of accident free driving in a range of different vehicles.
The technology would see the mobile home use GPS, radar and other sensors to automatically drive itself without any human intervention. But this has been criticised by owners who are concerned about the safety of the systems on the roads of the United Kingdom and even more so on the roads of Europe. Almost all the drivers questioned (98%) said that driving was part of the enjoyment of exploring in a motorhome. In the survey 40% refused to even consider ownership of the technology and 65% were sceptical they would live long enough to see the technology. These results show the builders of the technology have a lot of work to do if they are to sway the public’s opinion.
Additionally, 56% thought the technology would be best served as a crash prevention system to reduce the number of expensive claims made each year on motorhome insurance policies. Only 33% thought that driverless technology would be beneficial to road safety. According to the analysis, 21% of mobile home owners have prior driving convictions, and speeding-related offences accounted for 71% of these convictions. Despite this, half of those surveyed felt the technologies ability to never exceed the speed limit was an attractive quality but not fool-proof. Certainly most of those interviewed thought the technology was something that will not be seen in motorhomes for many years, and in the meantime thought more should be done to improve driver standards via better training, as well as incentives by the government and motorhome insurance companies.
Without doubt 2012 has seen huge advances in driverless technology and the technology may become the norm much earlier than some think. Recently a video release showed the practical benefits of the technology to help the lives of the elderly and it may be this sector of the market where the technology first takes hold.
In the past, one of the many joys that travelling in a motorhome gave to its owner was that of leaving behind the modern world of technology behind. Today, motorhome insurance is vital to protect all of the technology that is necessary to stay in touch with the outside world whilst exploring the country.
Now even the oldest and most traditional motorhome owners are taking some kind of technology with them. The majority have mobile phones, laptops or tablet computers and although it is extremely tempting to leave technology behind, they do actually have a useful purpose when on holiday. It has never been easier to check the weather forecast or look for places to visit. The only problem that will be faced is finding a strong enough signal to stay in touch. Today many campsites will have Wi-Fi connections, some are free to connect to, but others, especially at holiday parks, will charge a fee. Some Wi-Fi fees can be quite high but fortunately there are much cheaper alternatives to these expensive fees. Around 66% will look online before they leave to find a list of available free Wi-Fi hotspots that they can connect to which is a higher level than the 55% who do the more traditional search and look for the nearest farm shop or the nearest supermarket.
Most laptops or tablets will have has a USB port, meaning it will be possible to buy a dongle which plugs directly into the computer. The dongle will connect to the same network signal that a mobile phone uses. Obviously this will only work if there is a mobile phone signal where you are staying. If a tablet computer does not have a USB port (the original iPad does not), then a MiFi mobile device will be the best option. MiFi units are a compact, wireless device that allows multiple users to share a single broadband connection whilst on the go.
They work by creating a localized signal, similar to the wireless routers used by home broadband providers. Unlike dongles, which started to become ubiquitous in 2007, MiFis are relatively new but can connect up to 5 devices at once. The ways and means of accessing the internet from a motorhome are constantly changing. The United Kingdom market has evolved considerably over the last 5 years. The market will continue to evolve onwards and the price for motorhome internet access will hopefully continue to fall. Decent internet access is one of the necessities of modern life for most motorhome owners who have become increasingly reliant on broadband. A recent survey found 69% of motorhome owners saying they would prefer to be able to get some kind of internet connection while touring the UK, while 48% said internet access was necessary to make sure they get the best out of their holiday.