Tech Update: The Latest Developments in Navigation Technology

Nearly three-quarters of people use navigation apps on their smartphones. 15 years ago we were all still stuck in the dark days of the paper atlas. Now we have a huge suite of navigation software that lets us get from A to B more easily and quickly than ever before in human history.

But what’s next for navigation technology? In another 15 years, will we look back on today’s smartphone-based navigation and consider it outdated and old-fashioned?

Here’s what’s coming up on the horizon of navigation tech.

Wearable Devices and Tracking Technology

If the last 10 years were the decade of the smartphone, the next 10 will be the decade of the wearable. We already have smartwatches and tracking tags, and pretty soon we’ll have AR glasses and all sorts of other wearable tech.

But what does that mean for navigation technology?

Well, for one thing, it means enhanced user safety and better predictive behaviors. Consider: Google Maps can already predict traffic jams based on the data it gathers just from people who have the app installed on their phones. Imagine what else can be predicted based on the reams of data gathered from a vast network of wearables users.

Modern smartphones can warn you when it’s about to start raining in your location. The tracking technology and enhanced AI of the future could warn us when about possible natural disasters or freak weather events, which are only becoming more common in our era of climate change.

And if you did get into a bad situation? Your wearable devices can help emergency services locate you as fast as possible.

Using LEO Satellites to Enhance Navigation Technology

The satellites which make up the backbone of so much of mankind’s high-tech infrastructure are geostationary satellites, which sit over 20,000 miles in the air.

But a new generation of satellite is coming.

Cutting-edge companies like SpaceX are making increasing use of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to augment or supplant the capabilities of our current GEO satellites. They’re smaller, lighter, cheaper, and sit closer to the Earth than traditional GEO satellites.

That means they’re easier to repair, cheaper to produce, and more accurate than the satellites which already do a pretty good job of getting us where we need to be.

Because of their proximity to the Earth, they’re also far less prone to radio jamming (as in this link) and interference conditions than normal satellites. In the very near future, our navigation technology could be even more accurate and reliable than it’s ever been before.

From A to B in 1, 2, 3

So there you have it, some of the most cutting-edge developments currently making their way to the navigation technology we use every day. In our interconnected, AI-driven, ever-advancing world, we might soon find ourselves relying on advanced navigation and tracking technology more than ever before.

Well, it’s better than getting lost!

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About the Author: Jacob Wyatt