How NNG And what3words can change your in-vehicle navigation experience

Lead Product Manager, Jacint Tordai, outlines some of the benefits of integrating what3words with NNG's iGO Navigation.

what3words is a novel addressing solution designed to simplify how we talk about location. By converting immemorable chains of coordinates into 3 simple words, users can easily type, speak, and share locations. Now, combined with NNG iGO Navigation, OEMs can offer drivers the simplicity of the what3words user experience as part of an independent navigation and connected services ecosystem.  

Whether a commercial vehicle driver, electric vehicle owner, or those of us in standard internal combustion engine vehicles, we have all suffered irritation when trying to find a specific entrance that doesn’t appear on a map.

It could be a loading dock in an eCommerce-driven mega warehouse, a pre-booked charging spot specific to your car type, or a hard-to-find side entrance at a shopping center or arena.

what3words introduces a new way to identify these locations, by defining a 3-word address for every 3-meter square space on the planet. The solution, launched by the startup of the same name in 2013, has reduced stress and saved drivers’ time, and has even saved lives.

NNG and what3words partner to offer highly accurate commercial vehicle navigation experiences in 2021

What is what3words?

The basic idea of what3words is simple: all geographic locations are assigned an easy-to-remember code that is a combination of three simple words. The application blankets the globe with an invisible grid of 57 trillion imaginary squares, each 3m x 3m.

Of course, we already have an identification system – GPS – which uses latitude and longitude coordinates to allow you to pinpoint any location on the globe. But it’s cumbersome, and the large number of digits you need to enter isn’t user-friendly and creates a chance of error during data entry. For this reason, what3words allocates each square in the grid a unique code made up of three words.

Typically, longer words are used in more remote locations – such as the sea and deserts – and shorter words are used for more commonly-used addresses in cities and populated areas. The set of 25,000 different words lacks offensive or rude expressions, and by including conjugations, the system has enough unique identifiers to completely cover the surface of the Earth.

Importantly, what3words is now available in more than 45 languages. For linguistic and other reasons, the 3-word identifiers of the squares are not exact translations of each other. The aim is that the service is available, useful, and comfortable to each user in his or her preferred language.

NNG head unit UI with what3words functionality

Why an integrated embedded what3words navigation solution?

Embedded navigation solutions continue to grow in popularity in modern vehicles as an increasing number of vehicles become connected.

This growth is largely driven by the demand for superior user experience and the vehicle data-enabled connected services that embedded solutions are uniquely positioned to deliver. With two-thirds of vehicles expected to be connected by mid-decade, Strategy Analytics expects the attach rate for navigation to rise from 38% of cars sold in 2020 to nearly 70% by 2026. (1)

Electric vehicles and commercial trucks are two of the largest and fastest-growing segments for embedded navigation, connecting navigation with drive train systems to provide richer range and journey planning capabilities. When this information is paired with accurate charging station and freight depot locations, optimizing routing to include stopovers for longer journeys becomes simpler, more accurate, and creates measurable savings in time, charge, and fuel.

Making what3words available to our customers through our portfolio of navigation and connected services solutions is a natural fit – improving the in-vehicle experience by helping drivers find important hard-to-find locations in a user-friendly fashion.

If you’d like to learn more about including what3words in your navigation solution, please reach out to our representatives to start a conversation.  



(1) Strategy Analytics Location Platform Benchmarking Report: 2021. April 2021


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