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A Government-Backed Waze-Like System Means Google Must Focus on Innovation

Google Maps and Google-owned Waze are currently two of the world’s most popular navigation apps out there, but it’s not a secret other companies are investing big in similar software.
Google Maps on CarPlay 1 photo
Apple, for example, is trying to turn Apple Maps into a full alternative to Google Maps, while at the same time preparing an incident reporting feature inspired by Waze. So in the long term, Apple is trying to compete against both Google Maps and Waze, though for now, its app remains limited to the iOS ecosystem.

Meanwhile, however, others are also building alternative products. TomTom has already launched its hazard warnings with push notification support and the Indian government is working with domestic partners to build a rival to Google Maps.

And now it’s South Korea’s turn to take on Google.

According to a recent report, the local authorities are planning to launch a nationwide traffic management system that works similarly to Waze but comes with more advanced capabilities. More specifically, what the South Koreans want is to develop a mobile solution that would send notifications to drivers related to accidents and difficult traffic conditions in a specific area.

Called Intelligent Transport System, the new solution is projected to go live in 2025, and the government wants drivers to be notified of any changes on the road in real time. The Ministry of Economy and Finance says the notification would be sent not only to smartphones but also to other electric devices in a car, so most likely, there’s a chance the system could be bundled at the vehicle level, with the warnings to show up right on the head unit in the cabin.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean Google is just sitting there doing nothing. The company is pushing hard for Android Automotive, a new car platform that can power the new-generation vehicles using Android, all coming with its services, including Google Maps, pre-loaded. Polestar is already using Android Automotive, and a series of other carmakers, including General Motors, have announced their intention to install the system on their upcoming models.


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