TomTom has finally unveiled its HD Traffic service in Australia, promising timely and fresh traffic updates that aim to ease congestion on Australian roads.
TomTom claims the new HD Traffic service is the "world's most accurate and detailed", as it combines both live incident data, and real time flow of traffic from multiple sources. It promises Australia-wide coverage in both metro and regional areas.
A live data connection (via a built-in, non-removable SIM card) in the new range of TomTom GPS units delivers information from state traffic authorities, while data is also automatically collected from TomTom GPS users. The HD Traffic service promises live traffic updates to users every two minutes.
"Traffic congestion has a major impact on society and health, and is known to cause stress," said Chris Kearney, TomTom's vice president for Asia Pacific. "We don't have the complete solution, but we have some tools that will help with traffic congestion."
"Traffic information is only of value if it's timely and fresh, and HD Traffic provides drivers with the best routing information, and the most accurate and detailed live traffic information available."
The TomTom service is the first of its kind in Australia. The SUNA traffic system, used by competitors Garmin and Navman uses an FM radio signal to provide updates — the same way you receive regular FM radio in the car. It's also limited to mainland capital cities.
The TomTom HD Traffic service is available through three sources. Firstly, it comes standard on four new TomTom GPS models — the Go Live 820 ($299), Go Live 825 ($349), Go Live 2050 ($399) and Go Live 2050 World ($499) — as part of the company's "Live Services" suite. The Live Services subscription is free on these models for first 12 months, and will then cost users $69.95 a year to renew.
In addition to HD Traffic, a subscription to TomTom's Live Services also includes a constantly updated database of safety cameras, local search through Google, a quick GPS fix that promises to gain a GPS position within 30 seconds, and a weather forecast service.
The HD Traffic service is also available as an in-app purchase for the TomTom App for iPhone, priced at $7.49 for one month, or $41.99 for a year. The latest version of the TomTom app includes the latest maps, IQ routes, the ability to navigate to a geotagged photo, spoken street names and advanced lane guidance.
Finally, users can use the HD traffic service free of charge online on TomTom's Web Site. The free online route planner also incorporates TomTom's IQ Routes technology and aims to provide reliable arrival times.