A company called MapmyIndia is has announced its entry into the GPS Navigation Industry with their latest : Roadpilot, designed to help you move around various towns and cities in India. You dont need cell phone connectivity for it, and they say that it contains an extensive database pre-loaded with maps of 620 Indian cities; 576,000 towns and villages; 30,000 tourist locations; and 2 million unique destinations, like ATMs, Petrol Pumps, Restaurants and everything that you need to know in a city. The navigator is priced at Rs 7,990.
In the meanwhile, it is reported that trials are on by a sister company called MapmyPothole , to have a ready installable Navigator, priced at Rs 8000/-, that will warn you about potholes on roads, their frequency per kilometre, and percentage of them that are filled with water of unknown depths. The company has announced memorandums of understanding (MoU's) with the Municipal Contractors Union, MTNL,BSNL and Reliance Energy as well as Reliance Telecom.
Our sources indicate that a tie up with the Mumbai Police was cancelled at the last minute, after the Director of Mapmypothole was found related to some suspicious types in Dubai.
Speaking to the press, the company's technical director, Delco Me Pani, stressed the need for mapping potholes and supplying real time depth info as opposed to what he called elitist Page 3 data like ATM's , Banks, Petrol Pumps, Hotels and so on.
The entire exercise involves fitting Mumbai's roads with detectors every 500 metres, which would emit signals and map themselves on a screen for the driver. There would also be an audio feature which would warn the driver in 26 languages about an impending pothole at least 2 minutes in advance. The MNS and Shivsena have protested and insisted that there should be 5 announcements in Marathi in these 26 announcements.
These requirements are a challenge as there are often 3 potholes in 15 seconds in Mumbai.
Notwithstanding the Dubious Dubai connections, a grand demonstration of the contraption was held two days ago, in view of the fact that the Mumbai Police would order them to be fixed on their jeeps, and the ministerial red-beacon cars.
Unfortunately, several potholes earlier so classified got filled along with the detectors, in view of the impending visit of the PM, there was no pothole warning, and a speeding car ended up banging into a Caterpillar excavator which was excavating for a new road.
Efforts are on to dig up the filled potholes again in order to retrieve and reinstall the detectors, some of which have been completely destroyed by road rollers crushing them to pieces.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that those involved in sudden surreptious movement of manhole covers for their commercial metal value, have asked for a feasibility study regarding the movement of the aforementioned metal detectors.
Further news is awaited.