Carmakers adopt what3words app for voice navigation
As voice technology in cars has improved, it has opened the door for apps like what3words, a voice-navigation tool that helps drivers get precisely where they're going.
What's happening: Nearly a dozen manufacturers have integrated the London-based company's technology into their vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Subaru.
By dividing the world into a grid of 10-foot by 10-foot squares, each designated by a unique combination of three random words, the technology helps drivers navigate to places where an address isn't enough.
Why it matters: The app could enable rideshare drivers to find their customers more easily, for example, or delivery drivers to find the right door to an apartment building.
- Drones could also use what3words to make sure packages are delivered to the exact location in a backyard.
Between the lines: Some places, like stadiums or industrial parks, have a single address but multiple entrances and parking garages.
- Some pop-up venues may have no address at all.
- Some places have no street address, such as beaches, national parks or hiking trails.
How it works: To pinpoint your location, you can share your three random words — your what3words address — with other app users.
- "We're not trying to replace street addresses," the company's chief marketing officer, Giles Rhys Jones, tells Axios. "It's more like a super zip code."
Yes, but: For what3words to become the universal navigation tool the company aspires it to be, it needs to be integrated into rideshare and delivery apps like Uber and DoorDash.
- Some services in the U.K. like DHL, DPD and Hermes are using what3words, but so far none of the big delivery companies in the U.S. have signed on.
- Some emergency dispatch centers in the U.S. are using the technology, however.