The long, winding, technological road to GPS in every car

Have you ever gotten lost while driving? Probably not recently thanks to GPS navigation.

The touchscreen navigation/infotainment system in every new car or truck that some colloquially refer to as “the GPS” is technology that we take for granted today. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous, it’s hard to imagine new vehicles without them (though such vehicles did exist—people used maps and turntables). But the road to today’s navigation touchscreens is a winding one marked by a trio of evolving technologies that developed over decades. It took a while before these innovations came together to ultimately doom the humble—not to mention difficult to read and refold—road map.

The next time you don’t know how to get somewhere and have to rely on maps embedded on your car’s display, you can thank the atomic clock, the satellite constellations powering actual global positioning systems, and the humble touchscreen.

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Features – Ars Technica

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