updated 03:50 pm EDT, Mon August 14, 2006
Satnav vs Cab Drivers
Navigation systems in cars have been heralded as saviors for drivers forced to travel unfamiliar territory: with the exception of the occasional miscalulation or user mistake, satnav units should in theory replace the combination of good memory and a map. This isn't the case for London cab drivers. Despite availability this year, all but 4-5% of London cabs have a system installed. Officials from the London Taxi Drivers' Association attribute this in large part to the extremely demanding testing all London cab drivers must go through to drive in the city: they have to understand not only all routes within a 6-mile radius of the city center, but also the subjective aspects of city life that a navigation system can't offer. Drivers have to be aware of shortcuts or traffic problems that would never register on a current satnav system. Moreover, many drivers feel that satnav adds too much of a delay to a process that often involves snap judgments. Technology is catching up, but it may be a long time before precision mapping replaces intuition.