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First Garmin PND With HD Digital Traffic to Debut at Radio Show

Model provides fast updates with ‘digital data pipe’

At the Radio Show this week, Garmin will unveil what it says is its first Personal Navigation Device to include HD Digital Traffic.

The traffic data are distributed within the HD Radio signals of stations that belong to the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium.

The nüvi 3490 LMT is described as Garmin’s flagship Personal Navigation Device. Available for pre-order, it will ship to retailers in October and lists for around $400.

The digital data pipe can transport more data than analog FM, according to iBiquity Digital and the BTC; so the unit can provide faster updates and more detailed overage of alternative routes around an accident.

“The software is populating the maps as you travel,” iBiquity’s Steven Baldacci told Radio World. “The BTC stations are sending traffic updates to the device. With digital, it means you get faster accident data. Rather than being stuck in traffic because you didn’t get the update, you avoid the mess.”

Updates are made every 30 seconds, which Garmin says is as much as 10 times faster than traditional traffic receivers.

BTC has established a nationwide network for HD Digital distribution. BTC President Paul Brenner told Radio World: “Every broadcaster involved in the BTC has worked hard to make this partnership successful. Digital radio enables innovative product development like this Garmin device.” He called it a chance to showcase digital radio’s potential for non-audio content delivery.

Garmin HD Digital Traffic also will be available as an upgrade to other Garmin products through an adapter. The GTM 60 delivers HD Digital Traffic to several existing and planned nüvi models, by downloading included software.

Garmin will have a display in Chicago at the HD Radio/iBiquity booth.