Gadling gear review – CoPilot Live for Android phones

In this Gadling gear review, I’m going show you CoPilot Live for Android. CoPilot Live is a navigation software package for Android powered phones like the T-Mobile G1 and MyTouch 3G or the upcoming Sprint HERO.

The software turns your Android powered phone into a full navigation system with text to speech, offline maps and traffic information.
The Interface of CoPilot Live is very easy to use, and it makes use of large icons, making it easier to use when you are driving (not that you should be controlling your GPS unit when driving!).

Since the best way to show off an application like this is to show the product in action, I’ve made a bunch of screen shots that show the interface and its various features.

When planning a route, you can select 5 different modes of travel – by car, foot, RV, motorcycle and bike. Each mode will pick a different route, appropriate for the selected transportation method. This means you won’t be routed over the highway if you want to walk to your destination.

Picking a destination can be done by address, point of interest, manually on the map, by intersection, by photo or by coordinates.

The PhotoNav feature is pretty slick – it allows you to pull up a photo and navigate to it. This requires the photo to have geotag locations embedded in it.

Destination entry is quick and simple – CoPilot Live uses its own onscreen keyboard instead of the Android keyboard.

As you type, the database shows locations that match your entry. As soon as you see the one you want, you tap it.

Once you have found your required destination, you can call before navigating to it, which is especially handy if you are just looking for a nearby restaurant or hotel and want to know whether it makes sense to make the drive to it.

Before you actually tell CoPilot Live to start navigating, you can get a quick overview of the route it picked. This is great if you’d like to make modifications to the route it selected, or if you’d like to be 100% sure you picked the right destination.

Once on the road to your destination, you can view the map in several ways – 2D, 3D, “Safety view” (which shows very little distracting information) and itinerary view.

3D maps are vibrant and show just the right amount of local information. You can also increase or reduce what is shown on the map, making it just right for your personal preference.

The “Live” part of CoPilot Live refers to several online services offered within the application. Live Traffic offers real time traffic on your route, or any other location covered by the CoPilot traffic information network.

Live Link allows you to share your current location with other CoPilot Live users, though obviously only those that you have selected.

And finally, Live Weather shows the current and upcoming weather conditions of your destination city, as well as any location on your route.

The CoPilot Live premium services cost $19.95 per year, and include traffic information and fuel prices.

Traffic information can be viewed as a reference, or used in order to recalculate your route, should you come across nasty traffic, detours or accidents.

Final thoughts

It should be obvious from the photos that CoPilot Live is a really impressive application. It offers all the features you’d expect from a high end GPS unit, including text to speech and automatic rerouting, along with up to date maps and an extensive point-of-interest database. And in addition to all this, it also provides online services, making the most of your smartphone.

But by far the best part of CoPilot Live is the price – at just $34.95, it is more than 5 times cheaper than a standard GPS unit. You’ll find it in the Android Market by searching for “CoPilot”.

Getting CoPilot Live on your phone is relatively easy – after purchasing it from the Android Market, you will receive an email from the manufacturer directing you to a download location. This download is for the maps required to use CoPilot Live. By installing the 2GB map package, you’ll be able to use CoPilot even when you are out of range of a cell signal.

CoPilot Live for Android is a no-brainer. Obviously, if you already own a GPS unit, you may not need it, but if you are regularly on the road without one, and you own an Android phone, then it really is worth the low purchase price.

I couldn’t find any downsides to the program, other than an occasional slow performance on my T-Mobile MyTouch 3G. Sadly, some Android phones are delivered with a limited amount of memory, so it can really help to install a task manager to “kill” as many applications as you can before starting CoPilot.

The only other issue is heat – if you have CoPilot running for longer periods of time, your phone will get hot, and you really will need a car charger cord if you plan to use it for more than a couple of hours. Other than that, the application is easy to use, well written and its routing and navigation skills are excellent.

CoPilot Live is also available for Windows Mobile and the iPhone. They also offer a desktop/laptop based version.

When not to listen to your GPS unit

If I had to make up a fake statistic, I’d say that one in three cars currently has a GPS navigation system. In the past decade, these systems have gone from the ultimate in luxury to just another $100 gadget.

One thing that has not changed however, is the inability of some people to make up their own mind and drive around without using the GPS commands as something other than a mere suggestion.

Here are 5 incidents when a driver let the soothing voice of their GPS unit tell them exactly where to go; without thinking about their next move.

Turn right at the railroad crossing with the approaching train…

A grade crossing in Bedford Hills, NY was the scene of an accident where a driver took a GPS suggested turn, right onto the tracks of the Metro-North railroad.

When the car got stuck, the driver and passengers got out and called 911. Unfortunately, the dispatcher was not able to reach the oncoming train on time, and it struck the car. Nobody was injured but passengers in the train were delayed several hours. An exact same incident occurred earlier this year, also involving a GPS unit.

Via: news and

Road safety truck stuck…

This stuck truck would be just as hilarious as any other situation where a driver failed to check the height of his truck before driving under a bridge. But the truck in question was on its way to a seminar to teach school children some important lessons on road safety. It took a salvage company several hours to pull the truck from under the viaduct.

100ft cliffs on the road to Crackpot

I’m not sure what is funnier; that GPS units have been directing people on a route along the edge of a cliff, or that these people are on their way to a village called Crackpot. When drivers get stuck on the perilous route, they attempt to reverse their car along the edge of the cliff. Thankfully nobody has gone over the edge yet. Villagers are trying to get the route removed from GPS maps.

Source: BBC News

Turn left (if you are a bus)

The Dutch have a fantastic public transport system. Their roads are so bus friendly, that they actually make entire routes and shortcuts just for the bus drivers. So, let that be a lesson to anyone who is NOT driving a bus. This bus route has a hydraulic gate which opens and closes for the local bus, and is clearly strong enough to lift your poor Volvo in into the air.

Corner VS. truck – corner wins!

Residents of the Welsh village of Tycroes have tried everything to warn drivers about the dangers of Cwmferrws Road, but it took this stuck Polish truck driver to finally force the council to design a road sign telling truck drivers not to rely on their GPS units for navigating the village. The truck in question was stuck for hours, and kept hitting a garden wall in his attempts at getting his truck unstuck.

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of January 21

With so many new bloggers it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with who’s who and whose blogging what piece of scrumptious travel news and oddities from around the planet, but fear not. I’ve read line by line through every post this week here on Gadling and now I give you this brief summary of five from some of the newbies and the old to while away your Friday night.

5. Introducing Gadling’s “Video of the Week”:

Newcomer, Justin Glow does a fab job of bringing a new category to Gadling. Even though we’ve showcased a video or eight in the past we’ve never honored or singled out one for “Video of the Week.” Now is your opportunity to have your travel footage featured on Gadling! Dark Havana alleys, bustling Bangkok markets, or mellowing out on la playa in Ibiza – you’re the driver and the director so you call the shots. Now where are we gonna go?

4.Bad Drivers with Bad Directions:

Speaking of drivers, Dave points us to a great post on man vs. the machine. The machine is the ever-so-popular GPS device man has decided to place all confidence and common sense into while driving on the road. The combination of the two sometimes leads us safely to our final destination or sometimes it simply causes us to ram up against a telephone pole.

3.Travel Theory #124: Travel is Good for the Ego:

Need to boost your spirits and confidence? Why not hit the seas, the road or take a hike? It’s no secret that a good week long vacation away from your home digs does wonders on the mind, body and ego. Take a look at the list at how travel can be just what the doctor ordered and start planning your escape today.

2. Permafrost Disappearing, Siberia Terraforming:

I don’t know if I’m directing you to the post or some of the surprising comments it seems to have generated. Overall, it is this plug on global warming and its effects on Siberia that is most certainly worth a glance. The planet is crying. Can you hear it?

1. New Passport Rules Tomorrow:

Here is a friendly reminder to get your passports my fellow American travelers. Travel by air to Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas or any nation in the Western Hemisphere will require a valid U.S. passport. Afraid to fly or too darn lazy to get a passport? Apparently these rules only apply to air travel, so you can still enter Canada with your driver’s license by car according to the Canadian border patrol officer I spoke to this week. Both land and sea dates keep getting pushed back, but if you travel by air you sure better have one.