Tell your car where you are going, every single time.

When we get in our cars and drive to places we know, we often don’t spend the few seconds it takes to let our cars know where we’re travelling to. This has some massive benefits we miss out on if you simply rely on your disconnected human brain to navigate using a familiar route.

Thanks to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, inputting your destination is easily done using voice controls. Once the car knows where you’re travelling to, it will route you to your destination.

Sometimes, your daily commute will likely be routed through the same sequence of streets and highways, so you start to skip the step of telling the car and simply repeat what you did yesterday.

Today I traveled to Melbourne for a work trip. Driving down the Hume Highway from Wodonga to Melbourne is something I’ve done dozens of times before and while the trip isn’t exactly an engaging one, as I got around half way in the close to 4 hour journey, something interesting happened.

Google Maps navigation announced there was an accident on the M80 that would cause 40 minutes delay to my drive. While I drove up this afternoon, you can see the mess that occurred earlier today with an accident between multiple vehicles including a truck and 4WD.

While accidents are terrible, they are a part of our driving lives and when they occur, they can create significant delays on our journey.

After being altered to the issue, I began changing my expectations for arrival time. It was possible this 4 hour journey was about to take 5 our more hours to complete.

I continued driving down the Hume until I was closer to the turnoff. Thanks to Google Maps having live traffic data, was able to determine that traffic movement through that area was still restricted and the road segment was a solid red.

Automatically, Google found an alternate route to my hotel which only extended the trip by 5 minutes. This saved me around 40 minutes compared to other drivers in the same position that simply jumped in their cars and drove down the Hume.

Being connected in your car will save you time, the one thing in life, you can never get back. Whether it’s 40 minutes, or 5 minutes, saving time is awesome and completely possible if you just leverage connected navigation systems with live traffic data.

Let’s face it, driving in Australia’s major cities is a bit of nightmare and while some of that is simply a capacity problem, often delays are as a result of accidents and as good as you think you are about rerouting connected GPS is better.

I encourage all of you to throw in your destination every time, regardless of how well you know the route, it’s the traffic that you don’t know.

Thankfully our digital lives actually help provide the data to allow companies like Google to learn our behaviour over time and are helping to simplify this process.

If you have an Android phone, Google does a great job of learning your home and work locations (you can customise manually). When you have learn-able routines, like leaving for work at 8am everyday) then Google will prompt you, offering you the option to confirm you are heading to work as usual. This takes almost all the friction away from entering your destination, just a single-tap to enter.

Its also important to remember the autonomous future we’re quickly heading to. When cars can drive themselves, you’ll want to get in each morning and have the car know where you’re going, instead of having to tell it each time that you’re going to work.

A well maintained calendar could help here, but more likely its going to be AI smarts that analyse previous behaviour and predict the future. If you’re embarking on a new journey, say a family holiday, connected services like TripIt may help provide the data necessary for the dream experience of just getting in and having your car take you there.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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