Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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08457-gimme the directions please

telephone service to guide you to your destination
  [vote for,

J: "hi... natalie? yeh, it's me, look, I'm on the main road and I'm seeing the signs to Halesowen but I can't see how to get to Quinton - where do I turn off?"
N: "go left! um, right? got it?"
small miracle of correct road choice occurs
J: [screech, beep beep, sorry!]
N: "what road are you on now?"
J: "umm, Ridgeacre... west... something.. oh look I've just crossed over the M5"
N: "which way?" J: "dunno... I'm going downhill, big wide road.."
N: "stop! no, turn round, ... you turned round yet?"
J: "yep, now what?"
N: "there's a little road on your right, trees, winding sort of lane thing."
J: "arse. I just passed it. back on the main road now"

Anyway, you get the picture. Ten minutes but only about half a mile later, we've navigated me to her place.
How about a telephone service that you call from your mobile, [using a hands-free kit, or better still a speakerphone function in the car] *before* you get confused/lost. If I'd told them I was on a particular bit of the A456 and wanted to get to 205 [name] Drive in Quinton, a nice calm operator could (for a fee, clearly) tell me what turnoffs and road names I want, in good time, while reading a map. This would require someone who either knows the area (auto operator divert according to vague cell-site transmitter location) or someone who is good at reading maps and describing the information.

08457: "hello, pete speaking - your current location please?"
J:"I'm on the main road, the A456, Stourbridge area."
Pete: "and where are you going?"
J: "205 [name] Drive in Quinton"
P: "ok, keep going, stay on this main road."
[five minutes passes, pete talks to me or plays some adverts - I get a bit of a refund if I listen to the adverts - they're just like radio commercials, and I can mute them too]
P:"ok, you should be coming to a roundabout now, if you've been at or under the speed limit; get into the right-hand lane, you'll be taking the third exit"
J: "ok, coming up... ok, on roundabout, ... exited"
P: "you should be on Ridgeacre road now, going uphill?"
J: "umm, Ridgeacre... west... something, yes"
N: "you're about to cross above a motorway, turn right immediately after, it's a little road, winding sort of lane thing."
sappho, Aug 07 2002

OnStar http://www.onstar.com/
Does this with a three button interface. [Aristotle, Aug 07 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       P: Now just pull over to the side of the road and talk to the nice police officer who's noticed you're on the phone while driving...
NickTheGreat, Aug 07 2002

       Baked in USA. I forget the details (as usual), but I saw it on TV a while ago. You call the service (on a hands-free, of course), and the operator guides you to your destination, assisted by the transponder in your car. The bonus is that it works even if you have no idea where you are.
angel, Aug 07 2002

       NTG: did you read where I said hands-free or speakerphone? it'll look just like I'm singing along to the radio, and be a darn sight less dangerous since the whole point is that I'm concentrating on the driving. Since we all know that you haven't driven a car, shut up and learn.
sappho, Aug 07 2002

       Hands-free (in the UK at least) is also illegal, as far as I'm aware. Technically, you're not even allowed to adjust your radio.
NickTheGreat, Aug 07 2002

       .... and yet the emergency services get away with hadling their R/T equipment plus their in-vehicle touchscreen information panels.   

       From my limited aviation experience, I don't find handling an R/T a particular problem. However, the nature of the conversations is much shorter than with a mobile phone, and not destracting because it is immediately relevant to the activity you are performimg i.e. flying/naviagtion.   

       I think it's just a training issue actually, but I don't want to cover old ground, we've had this discussion before, so [anno-marked-for-expiry]
8th of 7, Aug 07 2002

       Nick. The illegality of using a mobile telephone, whether hands-free or otherwise, in the car is covered under the clause about "driving without undue care and attention". Now, since the entire purpose of this handsfree, speakerphone, through the car radio system (...whatever) helpline call is to help me get to my destination, and a large part of 'getting to a destination' involves not hitting someone/something, I am pretty confident that this helpline does not detract from the due care and attention I am devoting to my driving.
sappho, Aug 07 2002

       Umm... ok
8.. what do you fly? I once put a PA-38 Tomahawk into a 60° bank. Fun.
NickTheGreat, Aug 07 2002

       NIck: I also fly in a PA-38 but it's an Archer; I forget what the number is for a Tomahawk. Both nice little planes though. I am a navigator so I rarely do anything more than very slow, gentle turns - I leave the fancy stuff to my pilot. He does like standing the thing on one wingtip so I can get a clear view of my waypoints ..... but to give him credit, he does also perform beautiful, smooth, landings - shame he always does them about a metre above the actual runway .....   

       To get back on topic, maybe "using a handsfree phone while driving" should be added to the driving test.   

       Everybody does this. Legislation isn't going to stop it. Enfrocement is extremely difficult and seemingly ineffective. The answer would seem to be training to allow people to do it safely.   

       [Edit] Ooops .... I think you're right - I looked in my logbook and the Archer is a PA-28, so the Tomahawk probably is the PA-38 .... I'll check ...
8th of 7, Aug 07 2002

       Does the OnStar system do this (US at least)?
waugsqueke, Aug 07 2002

       8.. Piper PA-38 Tomahawk - I remember it well. G-EGNR. Then *trying* to line it up with the runway... the less said about that the better.   

       This pohne number, by the way - I just worked out what it would be, and is anyone without little letters on their phone going to remember... *deep breath* 08457-7446638422473284667773273 ?
NickTheGreat, Aug 07 2002

       I have a GPS unit in my car that I can link to a laptop running AutoRoute, so I can get a near-realtime scrolling map; I find that more than adequate. The icing on the cake would be adding voice synthesis that advised manouvering information well in advance, but even better would be a HUD, projecting nav info onto the windscreen. Unfortunately, my colleagues in the aviation industry advise me that given the current state of the technology we're not going to be seeing decent HUDs in ground vehicles in the immediate future, mainly on cost grounds. The cost of holding a cellular call over many minutes is going to be a bit pricey, surely ? And you're always running the risk of signal dropout .... an onboard system using an mixture of GPS and semi-inertials is going to have a higher initial capital cost but a lower cost per use in the long term. Let's say that the kindly, generous people who run the phone networks will let you have this service for 25p a minute; that's £5 for an average 20-minute talkdown - unless you keep calling back for instructions. Say you do this twice a month - therefore £120 per year. £360 for 3 years. A GPS system with a digital map is about that price and you've got it for keeps, no calls or subscriptions.   

       It might be a good idea for people who only need this service occasionally. As I spend a lot of my time navigating, and very rarely get lost, I'm not in a position to assess its benefits, but I can thing of a couple of directionally-challenged people who would use aqnd benefit from it.
8th of 7, Aug 07 2002

       Re OnStar in the UK. The AA were trialing it about 2 years ago. They equipped a fleet of cars for their staff. Not sure if they ever launched it.
Starmanz, Aug 07 2002

       I have to say that we have had such conversations with our car, though the directee was Pete, not the operator, and the service wasn't OnStar.   

DrCurry, Aug 07 2002

       One could also send a text or email message to cell
thumbwax, Aug 07 2002

       The new Buick Park Avenue Ultra has an HUD system (called "EyeCue") and it's daylight visible. $300 option.  I think the Aston Martin Lagonda had HUD as well, back when they were making that oddball model.
bristolz, Sep 08 2002

       Apparently even a handsfree phone can significantly distract you while you're driving. I say apparently because I've never read it in a Traffic Engineering magazine (to which I might give it more professional notice. Doesn't mean there hasn't been one tho'), only in a Newspaper article discussing legislation to make mobile phone use while driving illegal.
CrumbsDM, Oct 07 2002


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